Popular Longton café Happy Bunnies reopens across the road from old premises
A café in Longton, popular for its afternoon tea selection, has finally reopened following nine months of closure, in a new shop just across the road.
Happy Bunnies, on Liverpool Road, Longton, first closed its doors in March last year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit but continued offering takeaway services to keep the business afloat.
After briefly re-opening indoors during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which saw the cafe booked up for weeks on end throughout August, it was then closed again when Prime Minister Boris announced a ban on the mixing of households.
The inside of the old shop felt like a 'small and limited space' to husband and wife owners Nick Cadwallader and Donna Lambert, prompting them to completely close and spend lockdown looking for a new home for the business.
And when a corner plot just across the road from their old shop became available, they decided to transform it into the new base for the popular cafe which reopened its doors just last week, June 16.
Owner Donna said: "Like all other cafes, we were forced to close back in March like everyone else last year, and only reopened for a few weeks during the Eat out to Help Out scheme in summer, which was great because we were really busy and full of bookings.
"We lost a huge chunk of our business because our afternoon tea's do so well, and households were unable to mix so people couldn't sit at a table with their friends or family. It just made sense for us to close and look after ourselves and our staff.
"We made the decision to close and continue offering our afternoon tea as a takeaway or delivery, which meant we got our name out there and so many people began to show interest in our business. We were delivering to people for special occasions like birthdays because they had nothing else to do and nowhere to go."
It was during this lockdown that Donna and her team dropped off care packages to the vulnerable in the local area, donated produce to food banks and provided 500 free children's meals during the school dinner campaign fronted by footballer Marcus Rashford.
When they heard about the empty premises across the road last November, owners Nick and Donna chose to close down their much-loved cafe and bring it back to life again in the brand new shop across the road.
And due to lack of outside space, they chose to wait until the Covid restrictions allowed for indoor dining before officially opening its doors last week, on June 16.
Donna said it has been well received by both new and old customers so far, having now expanded the menu and offering vegan and gluten-free menu choices.
She added: "It was a tough decision for us to take on this new project because it was still during the lockdown when nobody knew what was going to happen, but it has been the best decision we could have made.
"It has been a complete shock to the system reopening after so long but now it feels like we have never been closed. All our loyal customers have come back and are loving it and we have seen lots of new faces of the people we reached during lockdown through our deliveries.
"It is much bigger and brighter and everyone has loved it so far. This space was an empty shell which gave us the opportunity to make it our own and exactly how we wanted."
More information can be found on the Happy Bunnies Facebook page.
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