A COMMUNITY-spirited Stourbridge woman has realised her dream to open her own coffee shop despite delays and upheaval caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Three months later than planned, and with social distancing in place, Glenda Taylor has welcomed her first sit-in customers through the doors of Oh-So Coffee on Barnett Lane in Kingswinsford.

Although the opening has not been the grand launch she planned - she said the support she has received has been overwhelming.

She said: “Opening my own coffee shop has always been my dream. I am very community-spirited and after spending 25 years in the financial sector I wanted to create a place where people could come in, drink coffee, eat cake and spend time with friends and family.

“Because of the coronavirus outbreak, our original Easter launch was delayed until we took the plunge and opened for takeaway in late June. The local community got behind us right away and the feedback has been fantastic, so as soon as we felt safe to do so, we opened part of the coffee shop for sit-in customers. Even though we were nervous about opening during such a difficult time and with so much regulation, receiving such warm feedback has made it feel so much easier.”

Glenda has had to rethink her entire business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Her original plan was to staff the coffee shop with part-time employees who could work flexibly around childcare and other commitments. However, two family friends have been helping her out.

Glenda added: “This is not the business I had envisaged but I will continue to adapt to make it a success. It’s been a steep learning curve, but we have grabbed it by the horns and ran with it. People are going through a lot worse right now.”

Despite the setback, Glenda says community remains at the heart of the business and she is sourcing as much produce as she can from local artisans, with the coffee coming from a local supplier and her fresh cakes created by the shop’s previous tenant - a bespoke cake maker.

Harvey Pearson, director at Hexagon Commercial Property in Stourbridge, arranged the pre-let of the shop before it was bought by commercial landlords Stewardson Developments.

He said: “We were trying to find a property for Glenda to realise her dream of a community-minded coffee shop. This property is ideally located between two primary schools so when it came on the market we knew it would be the perfect fit for Glenda, as well as a good buy for Stewardson Developments, who managed to conclude a swift purchase and structural refurbishment of the property.”

Mark Stewardson, director of Stewardson Developments, added: “Working with determined, ambitious operators like Glenda is a key aim of our business. We are always looking to add to our commercial property portfolio.”