The owner of a new dessert parlour in Northampton is hoping to allay fears of nearby traders that her firm will be ‘just another cafe’.
Michella Dos Santos, 30, is due to open the fairytale-inspired Magic Bean Emporium in St Giles Street at Easter, selling confectionary, crepes and coffees aimed at the younger market.
When she applied to take over the former Food Hall in September, a number of surrounding businesses wrote to the borough council to complain the loss of another retail store in St Giles Street.
Her business plan has now been approved after she agreed to amend her menu to include less savoury options.
Despite the concerns, Miss Dos Santos, originally fromSouth Africa, insisted she would not be treading on the toes of any existing cafes.
She said: “I’m trying to do something fun for the community and I’m trying to fill an empty shop. It’s a place for kids and young people because generally there is very little stuff for them in the town.”
Owners of nearby cafe, Are You Being Served, were among those to write to the council. Proprietor Wendy Wenham said: “We absolutely don’t see the new business as competition, but we are concerned that the loss of retail will lead to a loss of footfall. People come into town to shop, not to go to a cafe.”
The Magic Bean Emporium will be based in the former Food Hall delicatessen, which was run by Alastair Fawn, who died in 2012.
Councillor Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said the council had spent weeks working with Miss Dos Santos to make sure her business ‘fitted in’ with the street, popular for its independent firms.
He said: “The new dessert and confectionary parlour will only enhance the range of independent retailers based in St Giles Street.”