From little acorns did Silver Oak grow

PUBLISHED: 08:47 31 October 2020

Harriet Simmons and some of the Silver Oak Coffee team on their rig at Ely market. Picture: BEN JOLLEY

Harriet Simmons and some of the Silver Oak Coffee team on their rig at Ely market. Picture: BEN JOLLEY

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With market trade increasing and a new bagel bar just weeks from opening , things are looking up for Silver Oak Coffee after they had to shut down their cafe at March rail station due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Harriet Jestin, rig shift manager, said: “We’ve actually been doing alright since coming back from lockdown; we’ve had so much support, especially from our regular customers.”

She said that being outside has been a huge benefit, too: “because there’s more space, people feel comfortable coming outside rather than sitting indoors.

That’s not to say they haven’t had to “embrace and adapt” to the Covid-19 restrictions; now, they have fewer tables under their gazebos, making sure everyone is social distancing”.

Ensuring people are keeping apart, she said, has not been a problem: “Especially in Ely, everybody has been really behaving themselves.”

Harriet Simmons and some of the Silver Oak Coffee team on their rig at Ely market. Picture: BEN JOLLEYHarriet Simmons and some of the Silver Oak Coffee team on their rig at Ely market. Picture: BEN JOLLEY

In March, meanwhile, she says “Covid came along at a horrendous time because we had only opened the rail station kiosk there in December.

“Unfortunately, that had to close because of new restrictions at the time and the fact that less people were commuting because they were working from home.

“That’s been unfortunate, but the closure has meant we’ve been able to come back into Ely and start a new food company, which is something we’ve always wanted to offer.”

MORE: Coffee company and restaurant chef team up to open bagel bar

Harriet Simmons and some of the Silver Oak Coffee team on their rig at Ely market. Picture: BEN JOLLEYHarriet Simmons and some of the Silver Oak Coffee team on their rig at Ely market. Picture: BEN JOLLEY

Although lockdown was an “uncertain time” for the business, she said that because Silver Oak has a local roastery and also runs an online service, they were able to “keep roasting”.

They also offered a home delivery service locally in Ely; members of staff were bringing coffees, chocolate and brownies.

Silver Oak also teamed up with Fountain Fresh, who were delivering fruit and veg and their own brownies.

“Being able to support other local business ourselves, and being supported as a local business by others and members of the public has been really good.”

Silver Oak Coffee and Josh Held, the Cambridge chef and former general manager of 68 Market Street will open The Bagel Bar at the former home of Tea For Two in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIEDSilver Oak Coffee and Josh Held, the Cambridge chef and former general manager of 68 Market Street will open The Bagel Bar at the former home of Tea For Two in Ely. Picture: SUPPLIED

MORE: Silver Oak Coffee officially opens new shop at March rail station

She added that the furlough scheme was an “absolute godsend; we were all supported fully - and by our bosses in general during lockdown.

“They made sure we all got full pay and not just the 80 per cent.”

She added that the company made sure that its team were healthy: “we would have regular check ups and were all informed constantly.

“And the day we came back was just wonderful - I couldn’t wait to come back!”


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