Meet our coffee shop team
Over 10 years of operation, the Mid Ulster coffee shop team has witnessed many faces that come and go, but also met stalwart regulars for whom the coffee shop means familiarity and tradition. Mrs Bloom had a chat with two team members during tea break.
Mrs Bloom: Since you joined the coffee shop, you have been engaging with customers. What is special about your customers?
Charlotte: I start recognizing many faces! We have groups, such as young moms who arrive from the nearby gym for breakfast, and cyclists who lunch here every week in the summer. One customer comes in every day for an "half and half" panini. He doesn't even queue for his orders anymore, we just serve him the panini directly. A few gentlemen use the coffee shop as an extended workspace, we see them with their laptops. And then there is the couple who comes here every summer, on their stopover to Portrush for their summer retreat.
Mrs Bloom: What is the most popular dish at the coffee shop?
Charlotte: I would say hot food (like the quiche) and sandwiches (like the bacon brie and cranberry panini)...
Caoimhe: I would also include the cakes: A while ago some raspberry prosecco jam arrived at Mid Ulster for sale. We made a cheesecake using the jam and it sold out on the same day!
Charlotte: That reminds me: Do you know the couple who travelled for a couple of hours for the jam and coconut sponge? They came back again last summer!
Mrs Bloom: Given the group customers and regulars the coffee shop must be pretty busy during lunchtime.
Caoimhe: Yes! In the summer tour operators can bring in more than 50, 60 customers in one bus load. But I like it best when the coffee shop is busy. The adrenaline rush!
Charlotte: Speaking of tour groups: Remember the day when two arrived at the same time and we had to temporarily close the coffee shop in order to accommodate the 120 customers? What a day! Makes me wonder if we can make the seating area larger....
Caoimhe: And the kitchen too maybe? :-)
Mrs Bloom: If you can use one or two words to describe the coffee shop, what will they be?
Charlotte: Dynamic and organized!
Caoimhe: Fun! Enjoyable!
Mrs Bloom: Going back to your regular customers: What do you think the coffee shop means to them?
Charlotte: Apart from the food and fast WiFi (laughter from Caoimhe) I wonder if they think of us as an extension of their living space. I think they are comfortable with the sense of consistency that we can offer. Same seat, same time, same dish...
Caoimhe: In a sense we have become part of their daily routine that translates into a tradition, and this is the best thing about working here. Even in the small ways that a coffee shop does - making custom-made meals to visitors who feel under the weather, serving jam and coconut sponge cake to the two customers who travel from afar, or greeting regulars every morning with the same coffee and breakfast - isn't it a great feeling to be playing an active and happy role in other people's lives?