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  • Writer's pictureRhiannon Louden

Glasgow Small Biz Stories: Willow Grove Coffee

- sharing the stories of how your favourite local businesses and are persevering through lockdown -

Willow Grove Coffee is one of my favourite local Glasgow cafes. The coffee, food and baking are excellent- always local, handmade and fresh- the atmosphere is lovely and the staff are wonderful. I go in for brunch with family and friends, I have meetings there, I sit and work on my laptop there and no matter who I'm with, what I order or how long I stay I am always greeted with a smile and a friendly chat and made to feel like my business is appreciated.

One of the things I've missed most about lockdown is spending time in cafes- so I was delighted when I saw that Willow Grove had opened it's doors again for takeaway (in a safe, social distancing compliant way). I still can't go in and work or meet friends but I can treat myself to a nice coffee and cake or take home a sandwich for lunch- seemingly small things that make a big difference after months in lockdown.

On my first visit I chatted with a staff member whose face I knew well, only to find out that she is in fact the owner. We got to talking and I asked if I could pop back over with my camera and do a short business doorstep shoot, along with sharing her lockdown business story to feature Willow Grove as the first business in my new series of small biz stories.

Each week I'll feature a different Glasgow business that has adapted to find a way to persevere through lockdown and share their story, starting with small business owner Adele McPhee and Willow Grove Coffee:

"Like everyone, not just in the hospitality industry but everyone in the world right now, I'm playing everything by ear: trying not to stress about it but just adapting as things move on.

We have screened off the shop so to offer a safe take away service. Baking is done everyday in shop alongside our local Baker who provides the vegan goodies that everyone loves so much. 

We are building up each week adding more food items, soups, sandwiches brekkie options. We also offer fresh sourdough bread baked daily and coffee beans if anyone wants to get straight home to make their own."

"We have sanitiser stations throughout the shop, so I don't have to be going between food, coffee, kitchen, dishes etc without being able to sanitise. We also have a sanitiser station for the customers to use as they wish. 

Right now it’s just myself working which means I am currently not only the owner but the cook, the dishwasher, the barista, the server, the cleaner, and the baker- you name it I'm doing it just to keep my wee shop going, pay my bills and be able to look after my furloughed staff as long as possible. In saying that I am just happy we are open and serving, I really think our customers have helped with how I feel everyday coming in to work: everyone has been so supportive, popping into shop, even our social media has exploded with love and support."

"We are building up our social media and getting a lot of customers now DM'ing us so we can not only have their order ready for collection but also to make sure they don't miss out on what they're after. We are selling out each day which is our plan so there is no waste and everyone is getting fresh food each day; whilst this is great it does mean if you come to the shop 10 mins before we close, chances are your favourite goodies that you've been thinking about all day, will be gone. Hence why we are trying to build up our social media and get people interacting with us and ordering online.

All in all, I'm happy the way things are progressing in the shop, I think you will see big changes to Willow over the next few months, along with most cafes, restaurants and bars, we're going to change and hopefully that will be for the better in the long run and we will only get stronger."

You can visit Willow Grove yourself at 531 Sauchiehall Street in Finnieston, and you can preorder by DMing them through their social media accounts:

I highly recommend the iced coconut milk latte & the fresh bread & scones- and my wee assistant here says you can't top the "yummy scrummy" strawberry tarts.

Just a quick note: the businesses involved in my Friday features are not paid endorsements. These are some of my favourite local businesses, and I am simply supporting them in the by sharing their stories, along with awarding credit where credit is due. I believe in championing other small businesses and this will always be one of my core brand values. - Rhiannon

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