INDEPENDENT BUSINESS FOCUS: Willow Grove Coffee, Finnieston, Glasgow
📸 WORDS & IMAGES - Rhiannon Louden | @smallfishbrandco
Adele McPhee is the owner of Willow Grove Cafe in Finnieston, and her journey to entrepreneurship was an organic one.
Working over in Australia in her early 20’s, she landed a job in an independent coffee shop where she learned everything from scratch.
“It was ten months before I was even allowed to make a coffee” she says, laughing.
The shop was next to a local market, and it was there that she learned the benefits of using fresh, local ingredients.
“I was encouraged to go to cooking college, so I did, and from there I had jobs in every area of the hospitality industry.”
Back in Glasgow, she got a job with a coffee roaster, where she learned the roasting process and began doing freelance barista training.
The rest, she says, just “fell into place.”
“Opening a cafe was the next natural step. I was looking for premises, for what felt like ages, and this place kept coming up but I couldn’t envision how it would work - until I saw it in person.”
From there it was all hands on deck and with the help of family and friends, less than two weeks after signing the lease Willow Grove Cafe was ready to open its doors in July 2017.
McPhee knew she wanted to go in a different direction with her menu than a traditional cafe, like the one that was in the property previously.
“It’s really, really worked for us,” she says with a smile, “people were willing to try new things and would come back for more.”
Supporting local is an important value for McPhee, who sources as many ingredients as possible from Scottish producers and all coffee beans from independent roasters.
Over the past three years Willow Grove has established itself as a neighbourhood favourite in Finnieston.
Earlier this month it was voted one of the top 20 cafes in Glasgow by Glasgowist.
“I love being a neighbourhood cafe,” she says, “it’s so nice to be a part of people’s daily routine.”
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