“Our adviser Mandy Campbell has been a legend…If I could award her an MBE for her help I would”
A new tearoom in Tillicoultry, which has secured a raft of five-star reviews on TripAdvisor and Facebook just two months after opening, has expanded its team to help keep up with demand.
Since opening in late May, Tea at 63 has welcomed visitors from across Scotland, New Zealand, America and Canada as well as man’s best friend into the 22-cover café at 63 High Street.
Now, owners Marina and Alex Stewart from Tullibody have taken on a new employee, increasing staff numbers to five, so they can open their vintage chic tea room seven days a week.
The couple, who used advice from Business Gateway Clackmannanshire to launch the enterprise, began their journey last October in a bid to help Marina fulfil a lifelong ambition.
Alex said: “We’ve been married 29 years and as long as I can remember Marina has wanted to run her own tea room, but because I was in the Army we travelled a lot so it was never possible. After I left in 2015 she worked in a number of jobs but still dreamed of having her own business so last year we thought ‘let’s do this’, as I didn’t want her turning round in 10 years’ time at our 40th wedding anniversary to say ‘I wish I’d tried’.
“Because I’d been in the Army I didn’t know the ins and outs of starting or running a business so turned to Business Gateway. Our adviser, Mandy Campbell, has been a legend. She highlighted what we needed to be aware of, what research we should do, and she helped us secure the services of a local lawyer to draw up employee contracts. If I could award her an MBE for her help I would.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received since opening and I am beyond proud of Marina and what she has achieved already. The tearoom is always full and we’ve an established loyal customer base. Now that we have a new member of staff we can expand our opening and welcome even more people – and their dogs – through our doors.”
Mandy Campbell, Adviser, Business Gateway said: “Alex and Marina undertook extensive research, visiting every tea room and café they could find from Falkirk to Stirling, Alloa to Dunfermline. That experience informed the choices they made about their own business and is now paying dividends. Our help gave them additional confidence, increased their skillset and our funding knowledge helped them secure a lawyer. The café has already established a great reputation which we are sure will only grow.”
With Alex and Marina’s daughter, Lauren, also working in the café, using her barista skills learned at one of the world’s largest coffee chains, the family business has hit the right note with locals, tourists and dog walkers.
Offering customers’ home baked cakes, scones, soups and light meals cooked from scratch each day by Marina, the tea room provides a homely atmosphere with china tea sets and cake stands to add a touch of shabby chic.
Alex said: “People love how the tea room is laid out and decorated, it’s a real talking point. They also love the fresh food that Marina bakes and creates each day. We’ve welcomed people from all over the world who have found us on Facebook after they’ve fallen in love with the photos of our view and food that Lauren posts. Running a tea room is very different from military life, but Marina is in her element!”
For more information on Tea at 63 visit www.facebook.com/TeaAt63/.
To find out how Business Gateway Clackmannanshire can help your business call 01259 208426 or visit www.bgateway.com/clackmannanshire.
PIC: Skipper and Tea at 63 owners, Marina and Alex Stewart