The company behind Stokesley’s new eco-friendly coffee shop has revealed plans to open in up to ten more North East locations inside the next three years.
The first Milk & Grind has been launched after an investment in the region of £200,000 by Future Investments Ltd to convert a former High Street bookmaker’s shop.
Seven staff have been recruited, the shop is open every day of the week, and all the electrical equipment – from the coffee machine to the lighting – has the top rating for energy efficiency.
Its cakes, breads and savoury snacks are prepared at the popular and well-established Village Bakery in Billingham. It – and possibly a new bakery and coffee roaster – will serve as the “mothership” for all the Milk & Grinds.
Plans are already well-advanced for a second coffee shop in Yarm. Middlesbrough is also high on the list as are two towns in Northumberland.
Future Investments Ltd is being advised by Richard Wilson, a senior associate with commercial property specialist Dodds Brown.
He described the plans to develop a North East chain of shops as “extremely exciting”, providing the sort of ambition required as the region’s economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic.
“If Stokesley’s anything to go, Milk & Grind has found a winning formula: from the distinctive look, the friendliness of the staff and – of course – the quality of the coffee,” he said.
General manager Nicola Muir from Guisborough is in charge of the first coffee shop. “It’s been full-on – a bit of a whirlwind – but I’ve loved it,” she said.
“There are lots of coffee shops in Stokesley, but we all look different and do different things. It’s nice to have somewhere new to go. We’ve created a lovely atmosphere and have good feel for our local community.”
Mrs Muir said Milk & Grind offers fast service – not fast food – and with minimum fuss: “People might not want to wait for 10 minutes for their food. They want to get a nice cup of coffee, a lovely slice of cake, sit down and eat.”
Milk & Grind’s coffees and range of food – including cupcakes, bakewell tarts, brownies, cornflake slices, paninis and quiche – are also available to takeaway.
“We’re really excited about how it’s gone so far. It’s early days but it looks like we’ve got this right and it can be a blueprint for what’s to come,” she said.