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Store in Norfolk town announces first dog-friendly cafe

PUBLISHED: 15:37 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 August 2019

Managing Director, Jim Carlile and his dog Beau in the seating area where dogs and owners are welcome. Picture: Sarah Hussain

Managing Director, Jim Carlile and his dog Beau in the seating area where dogs and owners are welcome. Picture: Sarah Hussain

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A cafe in West Norfolk has opened its doors to dogs, becoming the first dog-friendly cafe in the town.

Managing Director, Jim Carlile and his dog Beau. Picture: Sarah HussainManaging Director, Jim Carlile and his dog Beau. Picture: Sarah Hussain

Reeds Homestore will now be welcoming dogs to the cafe in its Bridge Street branch, in Downham Market.

It has become the first dog-friendly cafe in the market town that will allow owners and their fluffy friends to visit.

Managers discussed the plans and agreed dogs will be welcomed into an area adjacent to the cafe.

The 65-seater cafe is the second busiest department in the store.

Jim Carlile, managing director of the store, said: "We've owned Reeds for around 14 years and the cafe has been open since then.

"We were discussing in a meeting how we could improve our sales and profits and one of our supervisors, Jess Jones suggested the dog-friendly cafe."

Dog owners are welcome to bring their pets along with them and sit in a tiled preservation area adjacent to the cafe.

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Mr Carlile said: "The reaction from the news has been great, loads of people are saying they'll be coming in.

"We've had about three to four people with dogs come in so far, with lots more promising to come by.

"On our trips to the Lake district you see cafe's everywhere that are dog-friendly, it seems everyone is doing it."

The business may look at expanding further to cater to dogs and provide additional seating areas outdoors, if the recent change is successful.

Currently employing 14 catering staff, the cafe serves customers a range of home cooked foods, including cottage pies, casseroles and cakes.

Rachel Carlile, head of catering, said: "One of the ladies that came in the other day was over the moon, people want to stay longer because they're not worried about the dogs.

"We're a country of dog lovers, so we hope it takes off and it has really, we hope it stays that way.

"If it goes well we could expand it further and provide doggy biscuits, we already give sausages to dogs that come in.

"We have a lot of loyal customers who are really nice."

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