September 23 2014 Latest news:
Lauren Cope, Reporter
Friday, August 29, 2014
A former prison officer has waved goodbye to years of looking after those behind bars to fulfil a life-long dream of opening his own cafe.
Dave Nicol, of Watton, is gearing up to launch DK’s Coffee House on Connaught Plain in Attleborough with wife Kirsty after 14 years in the prison service.
The couple met during their time working at HM Prison Wayland - but Mr Nicol, 36, turned his back on days supervising inmates for the daily grind of running his own business in March.
“It’s a complete contrast to what I’m used to, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It has been a risk but it’s something I was prepared for.
“The freedom is different but it’s also about making my own decisions - the decisions I have to make now affect me directly, which is completely different to a career where everything is full of policy and procedure,” he added.
A Christmas present prompted the father-of-four to develop a love for coffee into a full-time career.
Mrs Nicol, 33, said: “As a bit of a laugh I bought him a Tassimo machine, which he loved. Then we had to upgrade to an espresso machine - and it’s snowballed from there, really.
“It was a risk, especially with children at home. Our family were saying they’d never do that, and we did umm and aah over it but it has always been a dream for us. Dave said he was prepared to work as a delivery driver or whatever he needed to do if it went wrong, so we went for it.”
Although Mr Nicol said he doesn’t have experience running a business, he hopes his love of hot drinks and skills learnt in the prison service will see him through.
“I’ve always been interested in making good quality coffee, and I’ve got management experience, have worked with budgets and can deal with PR - they’re all transferable skills,” he said.
For the last six months, the couple have busied themselves with promotion, designing a menu and hiring staff - while looking after 10-year-old Bronwyn, eight-year-old Rhys, two-year-old Cerys and 10-month-old Lewis.
“It’s been absolutely manic, really crazy. There’s a lot to do in the early days but it has been good fun,” Mrs Nicol said.
They hope to extend their current opening hours, run themed evenings and apply for an alcohol licence at the cafe, which is in the old Zuari coffee and gift shop site.
The couple will officially launch the cafe on September 6, with an all-day event and a hog roast.
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