New owners’ Christmas Day plans for Sidmouth coffee shop

John Hammond and his family have taken over The Dairy Shop in Church Street, Sidmouth

John Hammond and his family have taken over The Dairy Shop in Church Street, Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

A café and deli is set to open on Christmas Day and to youngsters on Friday evenings after new owners took over.

John Hammond will be joined by wife Kirsty – youth worker at the Sid Valley’s churches – and sons William and Alex behind the counter at The Dairy Shop.

They are still finding their feet but have a plan for FolkWeek to create a one-way system through the store and offer baked potatoes to the flow of customers.

John, who will take care of the day-to-day running of the business, said: “We’re going to be open on Christmas Day for anyone who is going to be by themselves. It’s some thing we’ve wanted to do for a couple of years.

“We’re trying to keep our food as local as possible. We’ve got honey from Blackbury Camp and Ebb Tide seaweed from here in Sidmouth.”

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Kirsty, a former Sidmouth Primary School teacher, said: “I’m going to use the shop for some of my church youth work as a drop in. It won’t be a Christian coffee shop but we want to link with the community.

“The community-run Christmas Day lunch is brilliant, but ours will be a bit more low-key. It’s for people who might be single or bereaved. Somebody said to me Spar is open – but that’s the only contact some people have all day.”

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Both now 41, Bristolian John and Sidmothian Kirsty married in Sidmouth Parish Church in 2000 and they moved to the town in 2004, now living in Tyrrell Mead. They went on to lead the cub scout, where John trained to teach axe throwing and archery.

He hopes an online store – set up by 15-year-old IT director Alex – will be another string to the business’s bow. William, 12, will also help.

John has been in the food industry since he left university, including a role auditing his new neighbours, Hayman’s butchers, and health food store Ganesha Wholefoods.

His last seven years were spent working for supermarket giant Morrisons but he spent his life on the road, racking up 50,000 miles a year and seeing little of his family.

Taking on The Dairy Shop is a different way to pursue his love of food that gets them involved.

The Hammonds take over The Dairy Shop from Peter and Linda Verran-Smith, who are retiring.

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