Two young sisters are realising their long-held dream to open their own cafe in Clifton with a helping hand from NatWest.
Kate and Sarah Farmer, aged 26 and 23, from Acton Turville, have taken over the Lahloo Pantry and have re-opened the 30-seat premises under the name, The Farm; a play on their shared surname which showcases their love of high-quality fresh food.
The pair have opened the doors to the new cafe this week and will be serving up loose leaf teas and freshly-ground coffee alongside salads, homemade tarts and delicious sweet treats. They will also be offering traditional afternoon tea and scones – one of few cafes to offer this in Clifton.
The project got underway after a chance conversation at the sisters’ running club when they were talking to a fellow runner who mentioned that he knew someone who was selling their cafe.
Giving up careers in law and sales, the pair looked at the cafe the next day and immediately knew it was for them.
Working with Marie Partridge, Business Specialist at NatWest, they were successful in obtaining a loan of £22,000 from the bank as part of its participation in the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme. The funding has allowed them to take on the lease, carry out a refurbishment and buy specialist equipment such as coffee machines and chiller cabinets.
Kate said: “It’s a dream come true. Sarah and I always loved going out for afternoon teas and breakfasts and we always spoke about what we would do if we owned one ourselves. Everything seemed right about it and there were signs all the way through the process that it was for us.
“We’ve both got experience of working in family-run restaurants, we are both trained baristas and enjoy baking.”
The pair have taken on a full-time chef, Robyn Peglar, and are looking at recruiting additional staff. They’ve already created links locally by showcasing artwork from the neighbouring gallery on their walls.
Marie Partridge from NatWest added: “We are thrilled to support Kate and Sarah who are passionate about making their business a success. We wish them well with their project and predict they’ll be opening their next branches in the very near future.”
The cafe will be open seven days a week and the kitchen will run from 8am to 4pm.
Kate added: “Marie at NatWest has been very helpful and shared our enthusiasm for making the cafe a reality.”