Tuesday 25 April 2017

Tiny coffee shop opens in red phone box

Businessman Jake Hollier on the first day of trading at Jakes' Coffee Box for what is one of the country's smallest coffee shops, based in an iconic British red telephone box in Birmingham
Businessman Jake Hollier on the first day of trading at Jakes' Coffee Box for what is one of the country's smallest coffee shops, based in an iconic British red telephone box in Birmingham

One of the country's smallest coffee shops has opened inside a traditional British red phone box - with the owner hoping to cause a stir.

Business venture Jake's Coffee Box opened its door to passing commuters in Birmingham's busy financial district on Monday.

Budding barista Jake Hollier is the first to rent out one of four old BT telephone boxes dotted along the street which have all been converted to business use following a planning application earlier this year.

Charity trust Thinking Outside The Box put forward the successful bid to turn the unused boxes in Eden Place, off Colmore Row, into kiosks in the hope of breathing new life into the famous but now little-used conveniences.

Former hospital worker Mr Hollier said while there was no room for customers to sit, he had still been ringing up orders from commuters on his first full day of trade.

He said: "Everyone looks at you like I'm crazy but I am getting good responses, good feedback, people walking past and saying it's absolutely brilliant and a good idea. So far so good."

With the converted space at a premium, Mr Hollier has just enough room for the coffee machine, cups and condiments, milk, water bowsers - there is no plumbing - sausage rolls and sandwiches.

Prices range from £2.30 to £2.60 for favourites such as the Americano, cappuccino or latte, with hot chocolate and juices also on offer.

Mr Hollier said he had always wanted to go self-employed and when he heard what the charity had done with the boxes he started to think of ideas to turn a profit.

He added: "I knew I needed to start off small.

"It was just literally walking up the road I stumbled across them, that a charity had bought them and that they were up for rent and it led from there.

"I thought a coffee shop would be perfect for them. And I love coffee."

The 23-year-old said: "These red telephone boxes are really iconic and I for one didn't want to see one go to waste, and this is putting it to good use.

"Hopefully it'll be really successful and I hope the local community will support me, and I'll support them back with great coffee."

Subject to his success, Mr Hollier has already set his sights on turning one of the other boxes into a street food vendor.

Bringing the phone boxes back into use is the brainchild of businessmen Edward Ottewell and Steve Beeken, who opened a coffee and ice cream shop from red boxes in their home town of Brighton.

Their company Red Kiosk Company has been working with the charity they also founded to expand the venture nationally.

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