The nearest place for her local village residents to meet up was a café three miles away and whilst it did offer facilities for parents and locals to meet, it was not very attractive and offered more of a greasy spoon environment than a place to stop and chat over decent coffee and cake.
Kerry Kavanagh saw this as an opportunity to open her Perk Coffee Shop which is located close to Watford’s Carpenders Park residential development, local schools, a small parade of shops and the local railway station.
Perk Coffee shop is a homely and relaxed place for residents and families to meet for a decent barista style coffee and a bite to eat but with the added value of providing a child friendly environment complete with small soft play area and offering regular book reading sessions to entertain the little ones.
Despite having saved a significant amount of the funds she needed to start the venture, which included the refitting of a retail unit, Kerry quickly realised that she needed some additional funds and approached her bank for a loan. Unfortunately, due to the business being a start-up coupled with it being in the catering sector, her bank was unable to help her with the money she needed.
Determined however to make her Perk Coffee Shop vision a reality, Kerry found Foundation East’s loan product for Start Up Businesses via the Start Up Loan Company website. Bob Shimmon, Foundation East’s Business Loans Manager for Cambridgeshire was impressed by the research and planning Kerry had undertaken before embarking on the venture.” Kerry is a focussed individual with a clear idea of what she wanted to bring to the community. She set out what she wanted to achieve and is doing it.” said Bob.
The business was opened in February 2015 and employs three full time and two part time staff. As well as residents of the area, the café is regularly used as a meeting place for local community groups.
"Starting a new business is a daunting prospect and a huge financial commitment. Foundation East listened with interest to my proposal and were hugely supportive throughout the whole process. The thorough application form enabled me to think of all aspects of the business, which made me feel more prepared when those plans turned to reality. As well as providing financial support to make my dream a reality, my mentor Bob is always on hand to offer advice and listen. For our business, Foundation East don't just offer financial support but offer the tools and support to help us succeed as a new business." Said Kerry