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North Norfolk tea shop with a twist celebrates stellar success in opening week

PUBLISHED: 17:17 06 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:52 11 April 2018

Members of the team at Hatters Tea Shop in Cromer, from left, Neve Reynolds, Jess Clegg, Carol McNarry-Cross, Susan Cross and Anna McNarry. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Members of the team at Hatters Tea Shop in Cromer, from left, Neve Reynolds, Jess Clegg, Carol McNarry-Cross, Susan Cross and Anna McNarry. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

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A tea shop with a difference has reported outstanding success in their first week in business.

Hatters furniture was largely upcycled by the tea shop owners. Picture: Hatters Tea ShopHatters furniture was largely upcycled by the tea shop owners. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

Hatters Tea Shop has been open in Cromer for a week and a half, and their homebaked goodies are literally flying off the counters like hot cakes.

Co-owners Susan Cross and Carol McNarry-Cross have dreamed for many years of opening a tea shop, and both gave up long-term careers to pursue their ambition.

Susan Cross, who previously worked for Sowerby’s but also ran a baking business from home, said: “We did a lot of market research about what was in Cromer. We knew there were a lot of tea shops but what we’re offering is something a bit different, and we knew there was a space in the market for us without stepping on anyone’s toes.”

Sister-in-law and former nurse, Carole, added: “This was a big, pretty much derelict building, and we invested a lot of our own money in bringing it back to life and making it into a business.

Hatters Tea Shop in Prince of Wales Road, Cromer. Picture: Hatters Tea ShopHatters Tea Shop in Prince of Wales Road, Cromer. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

“We’ve wanted to do this for years and just knew it had to be the right building, the right footfall, and the right time. We were worried that this building would be too big, but with a lot of love and work we turned it around.”

The pair also sell a range of selected gifts including tea sets, dog biscuits (the cafe is dog friendly) and condiments.

“We’ve just started selling our owner Hatters branded tea too,” added Ms McNarry-Cross, a mother of four.

The Norwich resident added: “The idea of Hatters was originally Susan’s, we had a long list and just kept coming back to Hatters. We didn’t want it to be Alice in Wonderland themed, but we’ve got hints of Hatters around.”

Hatters furniture was largely upcycled by the tea shop owners. Picture: Hatters Tea ShopHatters furniture was largely upcycled by the tea shop owners. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

Ms Cross, who lives near Fakenham, added: “We do gluten free and vegan cakes, all of which are made here on site.

“We also converted all of the furniture and furnishings ourself. All of the chairs and tables were second hand and bought on facebook, and we painted them and made the seat toppers ourselves in our garage. We were worried about it all coming together, but it’s worked!

“When we did our market research a lot of people said Cromer needed better baby changing facilities, so we’ve made sure to include that.”

She continued: “We’d love to expand in the future, again for the right building as it would be a lot of work, and everything here would have to be going smoothly.”

A back, cosy corner of the tea room. Picture: Hatters Tea ShopA back, cosy corner of the tea room. Picture: Hatters Tea Shop

Ms McNarry-Cross added: “99% of feedback has been really positive, we have had to warn people on one day that there would be a short wait as two members of staff called in sick, and we’re really busy. But we always made it through and the vast majority of our customers say it’s fantastic.”

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