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Floating Cafe

From Jane Owens

Monday, 16 January 2012

Hi to all Hebwebians

I am in the process of getting permission to start a floating cafe/takeaway on a 55' traditionally decorated narrow boat which will be situated on the Rochdale canal in Hebden Bridge adjacent to the park and opposite Butlers Wharf if permission is granted.

The floating cafe will sell sandwiches, pasties, soup, salads, cakes, ice creams and drinks (both hot and cold). Everything will be locally sourced or Fair Trade. From 5 -7pm there will be a cheap and cheerful "dish of the day" which hopefully will cost about £3 per person. There will also be activities organised during the year eg chocolate fountain and egg painting at Easter, Christmas story telling, canal heritage educational days etc.

There will be enough space inside to seat 15 people and a hatch onto the tow path to sell takeaway snacks and drinks for people to enjoy on the park.

The people who will benefit from the floating cafe are:

1. Local community who walk the tow path and park.
2. Parents and children using the park play area.
3. Teenagers using the park skate ramp area.
4. The boating community based on the canal.
5. Walking groups.
6. Cyclists.
7. Dog walkers.
8. Tourists and visitors.

I am interested in finding out if you think a floating cafe will enhance your enjoyment of the canal tow path and park area.

At present the space I am interested in is a '24 hour only visitor mooring'. This space is under-used and often empty for 9 months of the year and only provides a mooring for less than 90 visitors during the 3 busy summer months. I believe an all-year-round floating cafe will be a pretty and practical use of the space and will be beneficial to both local people and tourists alike.

I appreciate all views both positive and negative.
Thank you.

From Claire M

Monday, 16 January 2012

I think it's a wonderful idea ! Best of luck . I will certainly pop in for a cuppa x

From Ian M

Monday, 16 January 2012

I'm sure the owners of the existing cafe by the playground will be delighted by your proposal!

From Jenny B

Monday, 16 January 2012

I admire your enterprise and the concept sounds great. I do think it is something that locals and visitors would use. I am sure I would have a look in and probably would have a cuppa too. But . . . mooring a cafe full time in a seasonal mooring spot might be problematic.

Competition? What you are proposing does sound to be something different and we do need different things in the town, so I can't see a major issue there. Good luck with it.

From Dave J

Monday, 16 January 2012

As a local I will only use your cafe if you provide decent quality food and drink at sensible prices, in nice surroundings. If you are relying just on the novelty of being on the water, then you don't have my custom.

However, I think you have a good idea and the right place will add value. I am pro-tourist and I think the day-trippers, canal-walkers and cyclists will buy-in. It might help if you are placed close to one of the gates that lead from the canal into the park if you can manage that, to make access easier.

Have you visited floating cafes in other towns to see what works and what doesn't? Perhaps you could pick their brains for a bit of information.

Your special days (Easter-egg painting etc.) sound interesting although how do you plan to accommodate your regulars if your cafe is full of hyper-active children eating chocolate? The point I'm trying to make is maybe you can't be "all things to all men", so choose your market.

Hebden Bridge gets a lot of rain, so try to make your place accessible and inviting in lousy weather.

Have you thought about opening in the evening in summer? Hebden is bereft of a decent coffee after about 5pm and in the summer, that side of the park is still sunny (assuming we have a some sunshine of course).

If you offer a decent product, with a bit of luck your customers will come and return. Good luck!

From Dave M

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

If there is a good selection of veggie meals and snacks then I would be a fairly regular customer.

From Christopher Reason

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

There's something similar on the canal at Saltaire. There's also the Half Moon cafe in the park and they both seem to do OK so you could be on to a winner.

From Bob B

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

How do You intend to power Your boat will You have a generator running 24 7 to run Your fridges and lighting ? and visitor moorings are hard to get in Hebden Bridge when the hire boaters are in town

From Graham Barker

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I'm posting on behalf of a friend who lives on a canal boat. He reckons the big problem with this idea will be the appropriation of a 24-hour mooring site for permanent business use. He thinks British Waterways won't wear it, and he disagrees anyway that any of these short-term moorings is surplus to requirements. They may not be used every day but they need to be available.

From Gwendoline Goddard

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I really like the idea of a floating cafe on the canal and I wish it well. It could be a great asset for users of the park. But the intended location is opposite Butlers Wharf and as a resident of that block of flats I hope we will not be troubled by a noisy generator, greasy fumes or the smell of frying onions. Maybe opposite the marina would be a better mooring point, more visible to more people and further from residents' windows.

From Jane Owens

Monday, 23 January 2012

Thank you to you all for responding to my message. Your views are really appreciated and hopefully I will see you on board in the summer if all goes well.

Just want to let you know that I will be using propane gas for all the kitchen equipment so it won't be noisy. Yes there will definitely be delicious vegetarian snacks available and I will be keeping the prices as low as affordable as possible.

Cheers for spending time to read my thread.

From David Telford

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I wish you all the luck Jane and think the mention of catering to the later evening crowd is a good one for the summer.

Don't forget the meat-eaters though.


From Kim Blackburn

Thursday, 26 January 2012

How to start...

The Floating Cafe idea gets a thumbs down from me, sorry.


By the end of next week I will be the new lease holder of the Cafe in the park. For one reason or another the present owner was unable to fully finish and open it.

I think a floating Cafe is a great idea, but just not right next to the park serving the same groups, its just going to make it difficult for both businesses.

If your passing through the park over the next few weeks look out for us, we'll be in the pavilion setting up and finishing off ready to open as soon as poss. Any ideas and suggestions are welcome. Or if you like emails us.

From Liz P

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Someone brought up the point that the cafe in the park seems to be doing OK so you should go for it. From my living room window I can see 4 cafes. The reason I can't see 5 is because I live above it. They are all doing OK. However, because there are so many no-one is doing brilliantly.

The custom is spread so thin in Hebden that you can get by but you can't make a killing. The cafes may be good for visitors but the fact that every single new build around the town seems to be a new cafe (or a retro clothing shop . . . or an over priced furniture shop) I apreciate the gimmick but in the end that is all it is.

Maybe settign up shop in a town that has under 20 cafes already would be a better Idea. I mean if it's a barge you can go practically anywhere. I'm really bored of cafes being opened left right and centre.