Teas, coffees, and home-made cakes

Sisters Beth Cook and Hannah Huntly who are celebrating five years of their independent cafe in hist

Sisters Beth Cook and Hannah Huntly who are celebrating five years of their independent cafe in historic St Peter's Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Sisters Beth and Hannah stepped into the unknown when they opened their first cafe, in St Peter;s Street - now five years on their new venture is going strong.

Sisters Beth and Hannah stepped into the unknown when they opened their first cafe, in St Peter’s Street - now five years on that venture is going strong.

Award-winning Applaud Cafe has become a central part of The Saints independent trading area.

I dropped in on Beth Cook and Hannah Huntly the other day - and chatted to them in between serving customers.

They have just celebrated their first five years, with friends and customers, wih a garden party and music.

Mrs Huntly said: “It has been an amazing journey.

“Five years ago we had life coaching sessions and we got inspired to want to do a business together.

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“We are from Ipswich and grown up here, and wanted to do something in the town.”

Artist Hannah was a freelance illustrator at the time while Beth worked in estate agency with Fine & Country.

They were both in the 20s when they launched their new business, in what had previously been a small house in the historic terrace.

“We applied for change of use and started in July 2013.

“We did so much research and planning, we were ready to do it.

“We had already got to know many of the people in the street, and we were part of the community.

“It has been really great being part of the street and the support of the other traders is important.

“A lot of people like to support the independents like we have here.

“It has been a big part of the identity.

“It has been getting busier and busier.

“We had our busiest day ever at the Saints Street Market recently.

“On our birthday it was really nice so many people came along to join us.

“We have just opened our second one a couple of months ago, a cafe in Crown House, which is a bit different.”

“Business has done realy well over the past five years. We now have ten people on the staff working for us.

“We only open Sundays for the street markets or special events. We have another one in September, which is Food and Drink themed, and another at Christmas.

“We are learning all the time. You have to listen to your customers as you go along.

“Making small changes, here and there, and trying things out,”

The cafe offers traditional teas and an expresso blend coffee and single origin coffees.

There are gluten free and vegan dishes available.

And a range of cakes are made daily in the kitchen and a quickly snapped up.

Among the most popular, currently is Chocolate and Guinness...

The garden has been a great attraction in the summer weather and was packed when I dropped in on them.

For town centre businesses there is an element of catching up after a terrible Spring.

“We did have to close a couple of days, because it was too icy and slippery,” she said.

She doesn’t get a lot of time for her art; but the cafe is now home to a regular drawing club, with guests artists or illustrators.

And Hannah has exhibited some of her art work next door, in Love One gift shop.