- Credit: Archant
The owner of a new vegan café in Bury St Edmunds is hoping to become a postmistress following the closure of a nearby post office.
Allison Knight launched her vegan café from a former butcher's shop in Bury St Edmunds in May 2019.
Now she has applied to bring a post office to the café - which she says is becoming more and more of a community hub - following the closure of St Olaves Post Office.
It would provide another string to the business's bow - and a welcome income stream - if her bid is successful.
"You have got to add and evolve," she says of the start-up business, which is in St Olaves Precinct.
MORE - Is there a future for key Bosch factory site and its workers after 135 staff laid off?"I didn't want it to be just a café - there's so much space I wanted it to do a few things."
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Although the café menu is vegan, it is designed to have a wider appeal, with a range of foods including cakes, savoury snacks, soups and lunches. There are also artworks by local artists, and pottery on sale in the shop.
"We have quickly become very community-based," she says. "Our customers aren't all vegan - some of them still eat meat."
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Her first concerns on deciding to open Allison's Eatery Vegan Café & Shop were finding customers and the right staff, but having run a vegan catering van she had already helped generate a strong social media following, which helped, she says.
"The first day the café opened, I was overwhelmed with customers wishing me luck and supporting me. It was a bank holiday and the place was vibrant and busy."
Positive reviews on Facebook had been heart-warming, she says, and, with a noticeboard inside, the café was fast becoming a community hub, she adds.
"It's paying the bills so at this stage that's all I can ask for," she says of her new business.
"We have not done too badly so fingers crossed it will carry on being quite steady."
The café has given structure to her life, she says. "Business wise I think what has surprised me is the interest," she says. "I have met some lovely people, and people on the estate have really taken me into their community."
Allison, who employs four staff and was supported by business support group Menta, says her efforts are slowly paying off.
"No day is ever the same," she says. "Business-wise I think what has surprised me is the interest."