Brewing up a healthy rivalry in Blackpool tea rooms
Talk about a storm in a tea cup! Competition in business can be fierce but two rival tea rooms in one Blackpool street are not set for a bun-fight over customers.
Instead a newly opened cafe has been welcomed by existing rivals as helping to bring life to the area and helping to bring back family customers.
Paula Pierson has opened the Olivia-Rose Vintage Tearooms on Hornby Road after moving to Blackpool from Manchester.
She had run a cafe there for some time but wanted to live by the sea-side and be part of the community.
Despite opening up almost opposite the Raffles Hotel and Tea Rooms, Graham Poole and Ian Balmforth have welcomed their new rival.
Graham said: “People have asked us if we mind, but it is a storm in a tea cup.
“It is great to have another business in the road to add interest and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition.
“A lot of the small hotels are looking to move away from providing evening meals for guests, just bed and breakfast, so to have another place offering evening food is great.
“We even have a new Chinese dim sum place at the end of the road.
“There is no point having kitchen staff at a hotel all that time if guests are going out to eat.
“We have always been bed and breakfast but with the option of people eating at the tearooms until 6pm if they want.
“We have been here 24 years and bought the tea rooms next door 15 years ago. We do quite well from weddings with the register office not far away and can cater for small parties of up to 32.
“We do afternoon teas and cakes as well as meals from English to Indian food.
“The biggest thing we have noticed this year is that the families are starting to return to Blackpool and that is great. So we need thriving places where they can eat and have afternoon tea.”
Paula Pierson said: “As soon as I saw this premises I knew it was the right place for me.
“I have two staff and am hoping to be able to take on a couple more and am really looking forward to the summer season. “We do the afternoon teas and similar to what Graham does but we open for evening meals until 8pm.
“Everything is home made and I make 13 different cakes.
“Graham has been really supportive, he is certainly not a rival, more of a friend.
“I agree with him that it is important to have thriving businesses in a street, it allows people to walk up and down with plenty of interest.”