Leila Simpson and Paul Terris
“We are located at 173 The Parade – the top end of the high street and we are a team of 6. We initially looked into this location as we wanted to be a part of the town centre, our particular spot was unique as it has always had a large pavement area at the front which we thought would be wonderful for a cafe.
“We opened the doors to Watford’s very own vinyl cafe in November 2013. We are a specialty coffee shop that sells records. Wherever my partner Paul and I would go on holiday he would insist on doing two things, go to a local sporting event and visit a local record store. These two things he believes are ingredients to really get to know a place! A trip to Naples in 2012 took us to Fonoteca a record shop which also housed a bar.
“Having a long history of working in music retail, opening a record store was always the goal for Paul, and while drinking at the bar in Italy a dream for both of us was born. The vision was a coffee shop not a bar and in our own home town!
“We have built lasting relationships with our customers, taking time to get know people and their tastes, music is such a great thing to bring people together and we love getting to know people and their tastes in records and coffee.
“Watford has such a creative vibe that we love being a small part of, it’s such a pleasure to be able to offer a platform for local artists and entrepreneurs to collaborate and use our space, in the past we have housed photography exhibitions, vintage clothes sales and many a live music performance.
“I believe that it’s our connection to our town and community that has made our business a success to us. We have become a part of people’s lives, to be the Saturday morning coffee stop for one family or the monthly record dig for someone else, to see people come back again and again, for new people to find us through recommendations or seek us out as a must visit when in Watford. We are so proud of our shop, meaning something to people, this is success to us.
“The coronavirus outbreak had our plans for 2020 change, completely! Like every business we looked at the best way we could adapt. During the lockdown periods we shifted our focus to staying in touch with our customers and sales of records online. We took the time whilst our doors had to be closed to have a lick of paint and arrange the space to allow for social distancing. The pandemic has shown us how to be resilient, to remain open to and adaptable to change, lots of things in business are out of your control but how you deal with things is, and we’ll always give it a good old go!”