Sid Valley Business Awards winners: A chat with The Chattery

Lynda Cole with her staff at The Chattery. Ref shs 21 18TI 4392. Picture: Terry Ife

Lynda Cole with her staff at The Chattery. Ref shs 21 18TI 4392. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

During the summer, the Herald will be celebrating winners in the 2018 Sid Valley Business Awards. Today, we speak with The Chattery’s Lynda Cole. The business scooped the Hospitality - tea rooms, coffee shops and tourist stops accolade.

Q: What’s the history of your business and what does it do?

A: “The Chattery is a fully licensed café/casual dining restaurant on the High Street in Sidmouth.

“We serve a full range menu from our very popular breakfasts to light lunches and more filling traditional English food, as well as our specials from other cuisines. Our Sunday roast is particularly popular. We are based in the premises of the Grand Old Cinema foyer – it has been trading as a café since it opened as The Steps Tearooms in 1971, changing to The Chattery in 1973, with Andy and Lynda Cole acquiring the business five years ago.”

Q: What inspired you to start it?

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A: “Andy was a local man who wanted to invest in the area and put down his roots here. It was a successful, established business with a solid team of staff that made our decision to buy the business a relatively easy one.”

Q: How did it feel to win your award?

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A: “With Andy passing away unexpectedly and suddenly last year, it has been an immense boost to win the award. Out of the two of us, Andy was the most involved in running the business, so for myself and the staff to have maintained the high standards and won this, it gives us all a great sense of achievement and team spirit.”

Q: What advice do you have for anyone thinking of starting their own business in Sidmouth?

A: “Look at what’s around you and try to find something that’s missing that the market would want.”

Q: Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

A: “Obviously, my staff. They have been, and always are, an amazing bunch of people who have pulled together and been supportive, conscientious in their hard work and cheery with the customers – they should feel so proud of what they have achieved.”

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