Banbury area woman turns Covid furlough experience into new business enterprise

A Banbury area woman has turned her Covid furlough experience into a new business opportunity with the launch of a new coffee house.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:00 am
Ellie Harper, the owner of the Adderbury business - Harper's Coffee House - stands with staff members Bo and Grace.

Ellie Harper, aged 27, has worked in hospitality for years, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic she was placed on furlough last year. She used her furlough experience to look towards the future. Instead of waiting to see what happens next she turned in her notice, and launched her own business - Harper's Coffee House.

She said: "A bad situation for a lot of people has turned into a good one for me. I am very grateful for the last year to be honest."

After just over four months of operating in the village of Adderbury near Banbury she has launched her second menu, the winter seasonal menu, and expanded to the first storey of the building. She opened space on the first storey this week on Monday November 1, which offers people a quiet space to read a book or work on a laptop with free wifi.

Harper's Coffee House has recently opened in the village centre of Adderbury

Ellie sources her cakes and coffee locally in Oxfordshire. Her freshly baked cakes, most of which include a variety of vegan and gluten free options come from the Cotswold Baking company based on Swerford. Ellie sources her coffee from Ue Coffee Roasters Ltd - based in Witney.

Harper's Coffee House also offers fresh made food with a light breakfast menu, and a full lunch menu.

The breakfast menu includes a bacon, sausage and or egg bap (vegan options available) served from 8.30 to 10.30am.

The lunch menu offers a variety of options from paninis, to sandwiches to baguettes, to toasties and sausage rolls.

The featured menu item of a honey roasted ham and brie baguette layered with fig and honey chutney available at Harper's Coffee House in Adderbury

Ellie also just launched her winter menu from Monday November 1, which includes soup and seasonal baguettes. The new seasonal specialty baguettes include a honey roasted ham and brie baguette layered with fig and honey chutney, a smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber and rocket baguette and a vegan option of a humous, beetroot, crispy chickpea and rocket baguette.

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Their two most popular lunch menu options are the coronation chicken and bacon, brie and chili jam panini.

The coffee house will also soon host Christmas wreath making workshops by Flora and Fauna Florists, which are already sold out.

The new Banbury area business - Harper's Coffee House - has recently launched its new seasonal winter menu (Image from the coffee house's Facebook page)

The coffee house employs five people - Wendy, Bo, Grace, Jane and Ellie. It's opening hours are 8.30am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 3pm on Saturday.

But the opening of the coffee shop has not come easy.

Harper's Coffee House is located in what is known as The Old Co-Op in the village centre of Adderbury.

The building, which had remained empty for the previous 18 months, went through a complete make-over with the help of Ellie's family to become a coffee shop.

Lucy Harper, Ellie's mother, said: "The challenges today of opening a business are so much bigger with Covid and everything. Ellie was very determined the business would open."

The make-over of the character-filled building was made possible with help of Ellie's father and uncle, who completed the fitting out process, which included equipping the shop with a commercial kitchen.

An old marble butchers table can be found in Ellie's side of The Old Co-Op building. The other side of the old building is occupied by another business - Squires Hair Design salon.

Ellie said: "It was my uncle, my dad, me and my mum in here everyday for three months straight. I got to design it all how I wanted."

For more information about Harper's Coffee House see its Facebook page here: