They say a week is a long time in politics but the same can be said for that of a cafe proprietor as Naomi’s Cafes went from the brink of extinction to securing its future last week.
Naomi’s Cafe on Bridge Street put out a call on its social media page on Tuesday, October 18, urgently pleading to the community to help raise £5000 or face closure by the end of last week.
The following day the cafe’s proprietor, Naomi Perkins set up a JustGiving page to raise the thousands of pounds needed for ‘a regeneration of Naomi’s café turning it into a venue, with heightened art exhibitions and more regular events.’
The cafe was set up and has been run by Ms Perkins since it’s inception three years ago and has also acted as headquarters for her telemarketing business, NP Telemarketing, which has recently laid off two of its staff.
By Tuesday evening, October 19 an anonymous benefactor for the whole amount had been found and the cafe’s future looks set to be cemented.
Ms Perkins said: “We had an investor that backed out at the last minute so we needed to find another investor which we found yesterday (Tuesday).
“As a result of the investor dropping out we needed to get a solution in place because we had bills that needed to be paid.”
She added: “It’s actually a really complex situation. I have a telemarketing business upstairs. I had two staff on the telemarketing business and a campaign did not perform as it should have done so money I was expecting to come in from that didn’t which put a strain on the financial situation.
“We decided to do a refurbishment which came about at the same time. With all of these fantastic events that happen its turned into a really big opportunity.”
The investment of £5000 has been donated with favourable conditions for repayment in the coming months and will be used in a number of ways.
Ms Perkins explains: “I am currently a sole trader at the moment. The telemarketing business is being turned into an LTD. An amount of it is being used to pay the staff salaries of the two that left, we asked to leave and the remainder is to cover the cash flow and go towards the renovation, to keep the business afloat basically.”
Renovations to the cafe will take a further month to complete and will see the locale move away from functioning as a traditional cafe serving drinks and food to an events driven venue supporting the arts but the community ethos behind the cafe will remain.
Ms Perkins said: “We’re rebranding as well. Moving forward we’re moving away from serving food and we are being events and bookings lead so there’s a cross over there with the general public being able to come in but our opening hours will be lead by bookings and events.
“We’re developing the art gallery space and the exhibitions we’ve got on here. Developing the bar and light refreshments.”
Assisting in this metamorphosis is creative director and artist Mark Bigalow who said: “There will certainly be more attention on the art gallery, the shows and the calibre of art.”
At writing the JustGiving page has raised £1850 which will be used on the cafe.
Ms Perkins said:”If there’s any additional renovation work or equipment to purchase some of it will go towards that, we’ll also use some of it to pay off debt and alleviate cash flow and we’re looking to set up a fund to support other community projects.
“It will all be used responsibly.”
The cafe will host an all day ‘rent party’ featuring live music and artists on Saturday, October 29 to further raise funds.