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Future of popular hospital café in doubt

PUBLISHED: 10:51 06 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:09 06 October 2017

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: James Bass.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

The future of a café outlet at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is currently uncertain.

Cafe Pure at the NNUH. Photo: The Chill Bar Company Cafe Pure at the NNUH. Photo: The Chill Bar Company

Café Pure operates at the NNUH under a concession agreement granted by WHSmith, which is due to expire in April 2018.

Owned by The Chill Bar Company, Café Pure was set up in 2011 to “introduce a new, fresh, innovative and personal offer”.

The coffee outlet was offered a term of six years and nine months at the hospital, whilst WHSmith has a lease on the space they share until 2032.

The business is currently awaiting a decision on whether a new agreement will be offered.

Cafe Pure at St Georges Street in Norwich. Photo: Carl Mann Cafe Pure at St Georges Street in Norwich. Photo: Carl Mann

Director and Owner of The Chill Bar Company, Carl Mann, said: “Café Pure has been a huge success at the NNUH, not just for the staff and visitors to the hospital, but to WHSmith as well, which benefits from the rent plus the ‘share of turnover’ it pays.

“Our concession agreement expires next year and as of yet we don’t know whether we will be offered a new one. We’ve been promised an answer by the end of October but it is clearly difficult for the employees in the meantime.”

MORE: Norwich café opens second location in city

He added: “Rumour has it that WHSmith will take over the operation of the café itself. However such is the loyalty of Café Pure’s customers; this strategy might prove to be a mistake. There is already talk of a petition and even a boycott, should such a takeover occur.

“The NHS Trust management has expressed its support for Café Pure, knowing its importance to the NNUH staff but it is powerless to assist.”

Despite uncertainty about the future of the business, the café continues to thrive at both the hospital and at a new location opened on St Georges Street.

Mr Mann said: “With our future in doubt at the hospital, as negotiations continue with our landlord, we felt our offer would succeed elsewhere.

“Our formula seems to be working well in St Georges Street, since we opened at the end of September, sales have increased daily.”

For more information about Café Pure visit facebook.com/cafepurenorwich

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