An enterprising couple are putting the fun into their business with the launch of a new café and play centre for pre-school children, thanks to assistance from TEDCO Business Support.

Richard and Aimee Bland launched CuriosiTeas Café after spotting a gap in the local market.  Their quality café offers a homely style play area for parents with babies, toddlers and pre-school children in need of interaction, play and educational activities.

The cafe is based in Queens Shopping Centre in Darlington and offers a range of home-cooked snacks and quality hot drinks in a fun and sociable environment.  The café has been designed to be as welcoming as possible to parents and their children with a reading and drawing area and sensory space creating a mixed offering to suit the varying needs of children.

Commenting on the business launch, co-owner Richard said: “It’s been quite a long journey to get to this point but we are excited and proud to be bringing this kind of family-friendly cafe to parents and children in the Darlington area.


The actual idea came about because of our own experiences.  During lockdown, we had a baby and wanted to find a calm, homely café that welcomed children. We really struggled and became focused instead on opening a café that we would want to spend time in with our family.


CuriosiTeas Café is just the right size to support our vision for a home from home space without being so big that you’re constantly chasing after children – a problem facing most parents when they try and sit down anywhere!”

After finding the right premises in Darlington, Richard and Aimee designed a cafe that supported socialising in a calm but engaging way.  The space is designed to suit babies, toddlers and pre-school children from 0-5 years old.

Richard continues:

“Aside from sourcing the right premises, we knew we needed some help and guidance on running a business so got in touch with Mark Johnston, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support.  The advice and guidance from Mark was really detailed and he ran through every element of running a startup business, from business planning to the varying administrative elements which needed to be addressed before we even opened the doors.

“The support we received has been absolutely essential and I can’t thank Mark enough for getting us launch-ready.”

CuriosiTeas Cafe is now open Monday to Friday from 9.30am till 3.30pm, offering children and parents looking for a fun and wholesome space a new location in Darlington.

Mark Johnston, TEDCO business advisor comments: “Richard and Aimee used their own personal experiences to create a business they felt other parents in the local area would benefit from.  They are, in essence, their own target market and I wish them both the best of luck in their exciting new venture.”

Whatever you are seeking help for, TEDCO Business Support is here to help.


The team at TEDCO Business Support has helped thousands of businesses to grow, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), so we’re here to support you.

Get in touch today to see how we can help you. Give us a call on 0191 516 61 02 or drop us an email at

What we offer

TEDCO offers one-on-one support provided by a dedicated team of business advisors and a range of pre start seminars available to clients who are taking the first steps into self-employment. This could be looking at an initial idea and developing it further, looking at how to start a business plan, business competitors, business marketing.

Are you eligible?

If you are looking to start and grow a business we’d love to hear from you. Our friendly team of experienced Business Advisors are on hand to take your call to discuss the support available.

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