Blackpool's first real Independent Coffee Shop

Black Fox Coffee Company profile

Project by Black Fox Coffee Company

Blackpool's first real Independent Coffee Shop

Blackpool's first real Independent Coffee Shop

£10

raised so far

1

supporters

The aim of this project to to reopen a former coffee shop that was only used for a few months and is ready to go once prepared for opening.

The idea

This idea is based on an opportunity that has presented itself to be able to provide an "unofficial staff canteen" for the main council offices above and the new offices for DWP staff, due to be built over the next 4 years as part of a £50m redevelopment of Blackpool Center, specifically Talbot Gateway, due to a couple of unique things that have happened over the last couple of years.

  • The first being the shutdown of the UK due to C-19 virus for a prolonged period, which unfortunately resulted in a number of companies closing /shutting down, even if these companies were stable before.
  • Secondly, this property was run by a council based Ltd company and was the only stand alone property they had.  When they closed they were in a position to be able to release themselves from the tenancy, they also are in the middle of a £12.5m hotel and conference center build for the Wintergardens, and so this saved them having to focus on a stand alone unit.

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Map above shows the full plans for the completed Talbot Gateway (Phase 3), at the moment we are currently having the New North Station Tram link, 144 room 4 star hotel by Holiday Inn and a Marco Pierre White restaurant built, both of these main doors will be facing directly opposite Black Fox's main doors.  Bickerstaffe Square is also the main footfall area for some estimated 15 - 20k visitors on average per day arriving through Blackpool's main North Station and heading to the hotels, guest houses and various B&B's located throughout Blackpool.  At the end of this regeneration (please see map below) will be an area that will have up to 20 thousand daily office workers, 2 hotels, a cinema, and a number of other retail spaces.1627724615_talbot_gateway_masterplan.jpg

  • Sainsburys Store nearby, an average day sees around 8,000 transactions.
  • Bickerstaffe House, main council building in Blackpool, 1,500 staff Mon - Fri.
  • The Gym just across from our location sees up to 600 members on an average day.
  • Main North Station on an average day from low to high season can have 25 - 40 thousand passengers a day coming and going.
  • New 144 room 4 star hotel with Marco Pierre White Restaurant, due to be finished in spring/summer 2022.
  • New 7 story office building being constructed from 2022 for the DWP to house its staff moving from DLA at Warbreck, introducing another 2,500 office workers in to the area.
  • 3 other offices planned within next 2 - 3 years at the back of the hotel/tram area, most of these being used to relocate council offices to a more central location.

The Property

My idea is to take over the tenancy and replace all the machinery that was removed and open up "as was," under the Black Fox Coffee Company and use this base as a start, to create a sustainable company that has plenty of scope to expand going into the future.  However this will be a Coffee Shop, not a bistro, cafe or restaurant, we will be led by our coffee sales, accounting for up to 40% of overall turnover with a quality selection of food-to-go, pastries, snacks and cold drinks.  This coffee shop will be catering mainly for the office staff and workers in the area as an "unofficial" staff canteen and will be the only "Coffee Shop" in the area.

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  • This is the front entrance - the door to the left is the main council entrance for blackpool council (1,500 office workers Mon - Fri)

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  • Post Office moved in March 2021, this aspect shows the whole frontage.

This property is in an idea location and is already fitted out with all the plumbing works and electricals having been completed to Coffee Republics high standards as required by the franchisee agreement, so having worked out everything that needs to go back in, makes this a very attractive unit and the fact that it is already fitted with kitchen, office, store room, disabled toilet, floors and walls, a massive expense usually associated with fitting out a unit does not need to be added to start this business. (Please see pictures below.)

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  • Back of coffee bar area and view of internal seating area (50 covers), and over the road the Gym.

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  • Kitchen area, space for fridges, dishwasher, freezer and storage.

Coupled with the fact that the council would prefer to keep this as a coffee shop to provide services for its staff, means that this is a fantastic opportunity for someone with good knowledge of the hospitality and retail industry, to take on a medium coffee shop project that will not require that normal high capital investment from the outset, this can run as high as £250k to set up a medium sized coffee shop plus the associated costs of running a franchise.

The Area and Competition

Within the area there is a Sainsbury Store and after a few enquires I was informed that there food-to-go is regularly restocked throughout the day as they constantly run low (they use 2 x 1500mm multideck displays), a Subway is also located on the same row as Black Fox and again they have to restock a few times during the day, but the one thing this area does not have at present is a Coffee Shop, when it was trading as a coffee shop it was doing a strong turnover and I know that with clever sourcing of the coffee beans we use, the food-to-go lines, our suppliers, that we can make a business that will last and that will have plenty of room for cash on hand expansion as and when opportunities present themselves.

How is the Money being Spent?

The money raised will be spent to get the coffee shop to a state where we are ready to open the doors and serve customers, this would ideally be as soon as possible, but have given a month for this (I am expecting within 3 weeks, ideally.)

  • premises will need to be completely cleaned including the existing furniture as has been empty for over a year and half (a lot of this I can do myself, love to clean)
  • Electrics and plumbing need to be checked before the new equipment is installed
  • stripping out of the old branding "Coffee Republic" and "Tower Coffee Company" and full rebranding with Black Fox Coffee Company, at first only in windows and on the price boards and other associated signage.

We plan to use the existing furnishings for at least a year and if possible for a couple of years, one of the main reasons is that it seems a waste of good items that had very little use and still have a long life in them, same in regards to the fittings throughout, to allow us to build up company cashflow for a big refit, whereby all will be changed internally and our colors, branding etc will be fully implemented.  One of the main additions hopefully at this point will be an outside seating area, which will hopefully add up to 40 extra seats and also make the outside areas more inviting for people.

The other main costs are for -

  • Rent (3 months is required on signing of tenancy) 
  • solicitor/accountancy fees
  • setting up of the main website
  • Initial stock, so we are able to open
  • any other things that may come up in the first few months.

The main machinery needed is listed below.

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One of the biggest advantages for me over competitors is that I can look around to source the best value items and get some good deals on looking around for nearly new items coming up on popular websites and in commercial auctions in the UK.

The other main costs are for rent, solicitor/accountancy fees, setting up of the main website, fully stocking to be able to open and any other things that may come up in the first few months.

As off this going live, we have in place -

  • Registered company name
  • own rights to logo and all vectors
  • own domain name and associated handles on twitter/insta/fb
  • bank account opened
  • cashflow forecast and business plan so have guides to follow

Staffing

I will be running the day to day business and will also be in store running around cleaning tables/cups/plates, unblocking the toilets if needed, cleaning in the morning before opening and at night, I will be doing all the jobs that will allow my GM and Baristas to focus fully on the customers

However I will be looking for a General Manager to manage the coffee shop operations and staff, ideally with at least 5 years experience in a high pressure coffee shop, we will eventually have up to 8 staff, made up of full time and part time staff.

Within the first 6 months I will be looking to acquire an off site facility to be used as our own kitchen, so that we can start to produce our own food-to-go ranges and hopefully cut down our overheads, at this time the company will start to look towards working with various organizations within Blackpool to help vulnerable people find active and engaging work with us that will provide them with a job, income and hopefully a brighter future.  We will be setting up our own training by the end of the first year so that all of our staff are trained in all aspects of Black Fox Coffee Company procedures, and this training will be nationally recognized, so we hope that staff coming through our doors can move on to other opportunities later in there careers, 

We will also be looking to promote from within the company and to this effect and to gain the most out of staff we will be offering a comprehensive pay package, which will include higher than normal hourly rate, a pension plan and a profit share at the end of the year as a Christmas bonus, we are hoping that this will encourage staff to remain loyal to our company and do the best they can.

Our Future

At the moment in Blackpool as well as Talbot Gateway redevelopment, there are a lot of new and exciting projects underway and as of typing the new central ward is now going through planning stages for a massive entertainment/retail complex.

So where are we going?  As mentioned above in the first year I would like to ideally be looking at creating a small off site kitchen with a view to creating our own food-to-go ranges, but also in the same time we will looking at potential new outlets which will be small coffee-to-go and food-to-go kiosks, these will be no larger than 30 sq mtrs and provide a small amount of seating and will act as satellite outlets for our main coffee shop located at Bickerstaffe Square.

When the Central Ward plans have been given the go ahead then we may investigate any potential to setting up a secondary main shop in this area but these are long term plans rather than the immediate.

The long term goals will only be achievable as we are not aiming to ever become a company that relies on debt to service expansion, we will carefully weigh up our cash to hand with the costs and then decide if at that moment it is a good idea.

We are also only looking to be a North West based independent coffee shop with around 25 - 30 shops around the Lancashire region, this will hopefully allow us a company to expand organically and will give our company an edge  when it comes to looking for a skilled and varied workforce.

So what do you get if you would like to help?

This was difficult, I will be honest.  Looked at others on here to try and get ideas but nothing.  So I decided on Pin badges, three designs to be exact, two of the designs limited to only 250 of each and one that only has 1000.

I wanted something that would make people sit up and really think and something that would last for as long as my company does and with this in mind I decided that Black Fox is going to be around for a longtime and therefore I would make 3 offerings that last for "LIFE", not one voucher for £xx, not a t-shirt or a keyring, but a simply designed pin badge.

Pin Badge designs below. (still nipping and tucking with design.)

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The first Badge at £250 pledge - This award simply entitles a founder to have any coffee based drink free for LIFE. (yep LIFE and we mean it, as long as we are trading you will be entitled to as much free coffee as you like.)

The second Badge at £50 pledge - This award simply entitles a founder to have any coffee based drink discounted by 50% for LIFE. (yep LIFE and we mean it, as long as we are trading you will be entitled to as much coffee at 50% off as you like.)

The Third Badge at £20 pledge - This award simply entitles a founder to receive a 10% discount on your whole bill for LIFE. (yep LIFE and we mean it, as long as we are trading you will be entitled to as many 10% discounts on your whole bill as you like.)

I was kind of trying to give something that would last and after looking at my average coffee shop yearly totals from one of my favorite national chains, which adds up to about £2,300 a year, I think that these rewards offer some real interest and value to whom ever chooses to invest.

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