Couple overwhelmed by support after Warwick cafe told to close after 18 years

Much-loved owners of a cafe in Warwick have been left overwhelmed by the support they have received after finding out they have to shut up shop after 18 years.

Friday, 28th December 2018, 10:16 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:04 am
Keith and Ann Cottam have been told they have to shut their cafe after 18 years. Photo supplied.
Keith and Ann Cottam have been told they have to shut their cafe after 18 years. Photo supplied.

Keith and Ann Cottam run JL Cafe at Warwick Parkway railway station which is set to close in January after the their tender application was unsuccessful.

The couple, who live in Hatton, found out a week before Christmas that they would be ousted from the station and that a new tender would provide a different cafe.

Ann said: “My husband has been there since the station opened and it is disappointing that we are not going to be able to continue. We were in shock when we found out. We have been overwhelmed by our loyal customer base and the support from them has been tremendous.

"We put customer service at the heart of everything and it is what we pride ourselves on and we employ local people so it really is a shame.

“It is not nice a nice thing to have just before Christmas. We have had to tell our staff they are being made redundant and some of the staff have been with us for years.

“Sadly we were notified we had been unsuccessful by email by someone from Amey Consulting on behalf of Chiltern but we have had no contact from Chiltern directly, email, verbal or otherwise, despite attempts to communicate with them.

“We don’t know who won the tender but we hope it is someone local going in there. We genuinely wish them all the best and hope it works out well for them. It is a great place to operate out of and we have got so many great customers and many have become our friends. It is more of a community hub than anything else.

“We don’t know what we are doing in the future yet but it would be nice to have something in the local area.”

The cafe also has a much larger place in Keith and Ann’s hearts because that is how they met. Ann said: “I used to work in London and commute and we met through Keith’s cafe - I saw him all the time. We have now been married for eight years.”

After finding out the news the pair posted it on social media, to which they were met with much support.

Ann said: “The feedback on social media has been absolutely overwhelming and so lovely. We want our customers to continue to support their local community station whoever goes in there.

“We just want to say thank you to every single customer for their custom over the last 18 years. Their support and friendship has made the cafe into a great success and it’s been an absolute pleasure to serve them.

A spokesperson from Chiltern Railways said: “Chiltern Railways aims to provide a wide and interesting selection of appropriate retail facilities at our stations to serve our customers.

"At Warwick Parkway we have worked with a range of companies who have tendered for the contract to run the cafe at the station.

"We are still arranging terms with our preferred supplier, but we would like to thank JL Café for their work over the last 18 years.”