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Owner of new Norwich coffee shop wants to bring community spirit to city

PUBLISHED: 10:21 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:01 13 September 2018

Tracy Skitmore-Rout, with homemade ciabatta bread in Juniper Coffee Shop, an environmentally friendly, gluten free and vegan she has opened in St Stephen's Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Tracy Skitmore-Rout, with homemade ciabatta bread in Juniper Coffee Shop, an environmentally friendly, gluten free and vegan she has opened in St Stephen's Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The owner of a new environmentally-friendly coffee shop in Norwich hopes her business will also encourage a sense of community spirit.

Before opening the Juniper Coffee Shop on September 4, Tracey Skitmore-Rout had left her job as a social worker, but sees her new business as still fulfilling a “social role”.

“So many people feel isolated,” she said. “We live in a society of couples. It’s not easy if you’re on your own.”

There are plans for the coffee shop, which also has a music licence and an alcohol licence, to host a series of evening events, such as quiz nights, with the aim of “getting people together”.

Ms Skitmore-Rout explained that some of her customers live on their own and “want to chat for a while”.

Gluten free and vegan cookie dough brownies at the Juniper Coffee Shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYGluten free and vegan cookie dough brownies at the Juniper Coffee Shop. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“I really do enjoy meeting people and talking to them,” she said.

A keen baker, she had always wanted to open a coffee shop and when the opportunity came up, she thought, “I am going to go for it”.

Gluten-free brownies and rhubarb and custard tarts have been selling well since doors opened last week.

Ms Skitmore-Rout said her friends have tried to persuade her to take part in the Great British Bake Off but that she does not have the time.

Inside Juniper Coffee Shop, an environmentally friendly, gluten free and vegan newly opened in St Stephen's Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYInside Juniper Coffee Shop, an environmentally friendly, gluten free and vegan newly opened in St Stephen's Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She is currently working 60 to 70 hour weeks at the family-run business, where her daughter, Lucy, works as a barista.

Business at the new venture has been “steady”, Ms Skitmore-Rout explained, adding that customers have been “amazing”.

“The people have been so supportive, telling me, ‘You’re independent and we really want to support you’.”

Ms Skitmore-Rout said that being environmentally friendly was important to the business. The coffee shop uses locally-sourced produce, while all takeaway materials, including coffee cups, lids and cutlery, are biodegradable.

Juniper Coffee Shop, an environmentally friendly, gluten free and vegan newly opened in St Stephen's Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJuniper Coffee Shop, an environmentally friendly, gluten free and vegan newly opened in St Stephen's Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Nothing sold at the new venture contains plastic. The disposable coffee cups are made instead with plant-based materials.

The coffee shop has two floors, with shelves of boardgames and a book-swap station on the first floor, where customers can borrow, swap and read books. The Juniper Coffee Shop, on 13 St Stephen’s Road, is open Tuesday to Sunday.

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