Home Food & Drink Northumberland Market Town cafe battles pandemic to save 30 year old family...

Northumberland Market Town cafe battles pandemic to save 30 year old family business.

Dean & Dot Jones of Melvyn's Cafe in Alnwick

A family run cafe which has been in business in the town for more than 30 years, vowed to battle through the pandemic.

Dean and Dot Jones took over the reins of Melvyn’s 4 years ago when Dean’s mum, Maureen Hornsby, retired in 2016. The business had gone from strength to strength under their management until Friday March 20th when, along with the rest of the country, they were forced to close their doors, for how long was unknown.

“We hoped this would be over in a week, two at most, but as the days turned into weeks trepidation took hold. We spent many sleepless nights wondering what would happen and how we would cope. The government help package would not last forever”.

Melvyn’s, in Alnwick’s Market Place, are not just known for fantastic ‘big Breakfasts’ and range of coffees, but for its friendly and welcoming community of regular patrons. It was messages from some of these regulars that helped Dean and Dot decide that they would reopen, but now as a takeaway and with a reduced menu, as soon as it was safe to do so. The cafe was emptied, disinfected several times and measured to ensure social distancing was observed responsibly and reopened on May 11th.

“The first week was very surreal,, driving into Alnwick when there wasn’t another soul about, we told ourselves we would see more faces later in the day but they were few and far between. The second week was a bit more hopeful and we did start to see more people, mainly key workers, who probably needed to see a friendly face and a bit of normality as much as we did”.

It’s been 6 weeks since Melvyn’s reopened and business has gradually picked up as people start to come out of lockdown and return to work. Alnwick is still quiet but the reopening of the market on Thursday and Saturday has been a relief for many in the town, including Dean and Dot.

“We just want to say a huge THANK YOU to old and new customers. Their support, smiles and kind words have warmed the very cockles of our heart. We really are all in this together and as soon as it’s possible we will have the table and chairs back outside and we will gather together to share our stories”.

Further relief was given this week when after talks with both the County Council and Councillor Gordon Castle they were given permission to place their outdoor seating back in the Market Place, again observing strict social distancing rules and regulations and with careful planning and risk assessments undertaken.

Melvyn’s is situated at 10 Market Place, Alnwick and is currently open Thursday-Monday 10am – 2pm.

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