It’s been seven years in the making but the wait has been worth the while for Bridget Watts, owner of The Good Bean on the Priors Hall development, Corby.
Bridget moved from London to open a café in ‘North Londonshire’ but with unforeseen delays with the site Bridget turned to the Old Village to set up shop.
Now the barista, with more than 35 years in the coffee and hospitality trade, has two outlets in Corby - one in the oldest and one in the newest parts of town.
Taking her award-winning formula of great food and great drinks, Bridget has two eateries serving healthy, hand-made food to the community.
The Good Bean won the Northants Telegraph Café of the Year competition in 2014.
Previously working for TGI Friday and from there as a senior manager with Pret a Manger, Bridget opened her first Good Bean in High Street.
Bridget said: “I moved to Corby from London specifically to become part of the Priors Hall community. I liked the idea of being a pioneer.
“I’m a Priors Hall resident, my son Jack is head boy at Corby Business Academy, I’m a parish and borough councillor and I’m a governor at Priors Hall - A Learning Community and I’m a trustee of Deep Roots Tall Trees Choir.
“We’re like the pinion of a wheel, the centre of the community. People leave messages for their friends with us.
“It’s like I’m knitting people’s lives - I’m the person who can draw all these strands together.”
The new coffee shop and café in Barnwell Gardens, which opened in May this year, has been very successful drawing in customers from nearby businesses as well as residents of the expanding Priors Hall Park.
Bridget prides herself on not making ‘filthy food’ with all the meals on the menu being ‘light and healthy’.
Bridget added: “I’ve had 35 years in the coffee business and I really know my coffee.
“We make everything from fresh ingredients, it’s all hand-made.
“I chose large tables so they are communal, that way people can feel like part of a community.
“A cafe is the modern day equivalent of a pub - a place where people can drop in and where the person behind the bar knows them and everyone else.
“I followed the business rule to go where the workers are - we get employees from the business centre over the road which has 58 offices and RS Components and the two nearby schools.
“I’ve got no regrets about moving from London. We’re bucking the trend - only four in every 10 coffee shops make it to their fifth year and we’re in our sixth.”
The Good Bean Priors Hall is open Monday from 7.30am - 4pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 7.30am - 5pm and Sunday 10am - 2pm, and closed Saturdays.