Commuters can enjoy a welcome new pitstop on their commute through the Tyne Tunnel as local entrepreneur Jonathan Elliott opens new coffee outlet, The Great North Coffee Company.
The Great North Coffee Company will be serving up a morning caffeine fix from the Northbound side of the North Tyneside entrance and will be a static coffee outlet serving up high quality java for tunnel traffic seven days a week.
The outlet is planning to eventually introduce a selection of seating for customers not in the market to just grab ‘n’ go their hot drinks, sandwiches or paninis and will provide selected parking for commuters passing through on their journey.
Jonathan said: “I think I speak for most people who use the Tyne Tunnel regularly when I say a coffee outlet is very welcome just to grab that last minute coffee before work or to help get your caffeine fix before a long journey. Thankfully the opportunity arose for me to open the first Great North Coffee Company at a spot with the potential for great passing trade as an independent, local business.
“The premises have been designed for a range of different types of customers, from those in a rush to people who want to savour their purchase and I have been absolutely delighted with the early response to the idea so far.”
Jonathan decided to launch The Great North Coffee Company when the sad passing of both his mother and father within six months of each other led to a new path running a series of charity events alongside his full time job.
Jonathan continues: “After my father died and then my mum last year I ploughed quite a lot of my energy into organising fundraising events which would benefit some of the charities which helped when my mum was suffering from breast cancer. I organised a number of successful events which really helped to give me a focus during what was otherwise a difficult and challenging period.
“Even though I work as a full-time production operator, before I started organising the charity events, I had harboured dreams to open a coffee shop but put plans on hold to support my family. Eventually, I decided the time was right to put my business plans into action and looked into financing options to help get The Great North Coffee Company off the ground.”
Jonathan was able to access a Virgin StartUp loan for £16,000 to fund some of the initial business costs thanks to help from his business advisor, Tracy Clarkson from TEDCO Business Support. Virgin Startup offers government-backed low-cost business loans designed to help entrepreneurs gain access to the capital they need to launch new enterprises in the region. The programme is exclusively delivered in the North East by TEDCO Business Support, giving businesses access to a wide range of financing options when it comes to securing business capital.
Jonathan continues: “Tracy Clarkson has been a great source of advice and support when it came to getting the business started. She has helped me apply for the Virgin StartUp loan to really push forward with some of the initial costs involved in the set-up and to get the premises ready. Just having that point of contact when you need it to ask questions or bounce an idea off is invaluable when venturing into new territory and running a business for the first time.
“The management of TT2 have been incredibly supportive in helping to make this business a reality and they really couldn’t have done more to support me in the months leading up to the launch. We’re just really excited to get up and running and serve hot drinks to the thousands of people who pass through the Tyne Tunnel week in and week out.”
TT2, the operator of the Tyne Tunnels, supported Jonathon to set up the Great North Coffee Company, by providing a prime location near the northbound entrance of the tunnels. TT2 aims to be a good neighbour to customers on both sides of the tunnel and welcomed the opportunity to support a local start-up business from its inception. The firm is also promoting Jonathan’s business using its digital signs, to alert customers to his new location.
Tracy Clarkson, TEDCO business advisor comments: “To open a business in such a great location with the potential for high-levels of passing trade is quite the feat for a new business owner. I congratulate Jonathan for his tenacity in getting the Great North Coffee Company off the ground. We support a wide range of food-service related businesses at TEDCO Business Support, many of which have moved from mobile or temporary outlets into full restaurants as they grow into strong local brands. We can certainly see The Great North Coffee Company following the same path with Jonathan at the helm and I’d like to wish him the best of luck in this new venture.”
Phil Smith, CEO at TT2 Limited, operators of the Tyne Tunnels, said: “When Jonathan approached us with his business idea, we were delighted to offer him our support, and to provide him with a prominent place to pitch up. It’s great for us to be able to support a local entrepreneur and help to develop an embryonic business. We wish Jonathan all the best of luck, and I look forward to visiting the Great North Coffee Company myself after the launch.”