Home North East Darlington café owner swapping the main course for the golf course

Darlington café owner swapping the main course for the golf course

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Stephen Valente, Cafe Valente owner

Darlington café owner Stephen Valente is selling his local business to spend more time improving his 14 handicap at the Durham City Golf Club, where he’s now Senior Captain.

Stephen, 71, who has owned and managed Café Valente since 2006, started his catering career with his family’s business when he was 17 years old. He started his working life in Bishop Auckland with one ice cream van, building it up to nine ice cream vans and a factory.

He bought his first café in Hartlepool, opened Visions Wine Bar and went on to his biggest adventure building Newton Grange Hotel in Durham City, which he ran for 10 years, before selling to a large brewery. It was at that point that he decided to buy Wade’s coffee shop and bistro which he owns and runs as Café Valente with his wife Dorothy and a team of dedicated staff.

He is now planning to retire, swapping the lunchtime rush for the fairway. He is selling the café with business broker Hilton Smythe to concentrate on his role as Senior Captain at Durham City Golf Club.

Stephen has been an enthusiastic golf player since he was 18 years old and although he has thoroughly enjoyed building up Café Valente, a thriving business in a busy shopping centre and, after fifty plus years in catering and hospitality, he feels now is the time for him to relax and enjoy planning holidays and golf tournaments.

He has put the business on the market, hoping that Hilton Smythe will find the perfect new owners for the business he has built up.

Gareth Smyth, CEO of Hilton Smythe Group, said: “Stephen has worked hard and created something special with Café Valente. I’m sure the people of Darlington will be sad to see him hang up his apron, but they’ll be happy to hear he’s going to enjoy his retirement.

“Stephen has done a fantastic job building up Café Valente as a business, and it will be a great investment for anyone looking to run their own café. It is in a central location and is well-loved by locals. I would say it’s an absolute hole-in-one.”

Stephen Valente said: “I’m sad to be selling Café Valente, because it’s been my life for the past 13 years, but Hilton Smythe is being incredibly supportive in finding a new owner. With the team organising the sale, I can start to relax and plan an enjoyable retirement.

“When I was younger my handicap was only nine but now it’s 14 and I want to concentrate on getting it back to single figures.”