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Penarth’s Stol Coffee is success during pandemic

NEW businesses have been springing up during lockdown – with a 14 per cent increase in start-up businesses in the past year according to business finance company Bionic. Accounting company Ember’s research showed that almost 100 new businesses were created in the UK every hour during the first quarter of 2021.

The number of people starting their own businesses between the start of 2021 and the end of March surpassed 2,300 a day – with a total of 211,368 during the quarter, surpassing 200k in a quarter for the third time in the past year.

Ember co-founder Daniel Hogan attributes some of the increase in new start-ups to the pandemic. He said: “It’s great to see so much new business activity in the UK. The pandemic has changed the way a lot of people think about their lives and their work, and it looks like more people than ever are taking the opportunity to go into business.”

Many businesses, especially in the hospitality sector and in non-essential retail, took a big hit to their revenue with the numerous lockdowns meaning they have spent the most part of the past year and a half closed down or under severe restrictions which would limit their revenue and put staff on furlough or redundancy.

Penarth’s Stol Coffee was launched during the Covid-19 pandemic by Peter, originally from Poland. Stol means ‘table’ in Polish and the business is a mobile coffee and cookie business. Peter serves speciality grade filter coffee and homemade cookies on a trike around Penarth.

“It’s great to be so mobile as I get to stop and have a little chat, or meaningful conversation with my local community.”

Prior to setting up the business, Peter worked in hospitality for more than 10 years and was a supervisor at a local coffee shop. During the first lockdown, he was put on furlough and then decided to launch Stol Coffee.

“During lockdown, I was desperate to get out of the house and be a meaningful part of my community. I was trying to figure out how I could help people in need, and at the same time, be able to support my family.

“I figured that if you can’t come to the coffee shop, then the coffee shop needs to come to you. I knew a local bike mechanic, so I asked him to build me a simple trike. I asked around for a garage and spent all my savings on equipment. I registered as a sole trader and all the legal stuff and the rest is history.”

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He used Vistaprint to print business cards and leaflets. “I was looking for an eco-conscious option, so I chose kraft paper cards and unlaminated leaflets and was very pleased with the quality that represented my business well.

“They also provide tips on how you can make your business succeed and they have loads of articles on their site to point you in the right direction when starting a new business.”

It hasn’t all been plain sailing however, within the first week of Stol Coffee’s launch, the bike broke. It was repaired a few times by a local garage and then after those repairs, the frame completely snapped.

“The Penarth community came together and contributed to a crowdfunding campaign. I crowdfunded £7,500 in two weeks – the community is at the heart of my company, which is why I want to give back.

“I received no help from the authorities or local council. I didn’t qualify for any grants or support at all, according to the law.

“Everything I’ve achieved so far is a result of many people believing in making this world a better place by creating relationships which in the long run will strengthen the community.

“Coffee and cookies are just the way to get there.”

Peter also gave some tips for how you could start your own business. He said: “Know why you do it. Find your purpose and monetise it. Don’t build a business just because of a trend or something just looks promising. You have to believe in it. Believe in yourself and people around you.”

You can find Stol Coffee on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stolcoffee and https://www.stolcoffee.co.uk/about

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