A former bus driver turned entrepreneur has transformed a vacant unit at Gateshead Interchange to offer his passengers a new place to grab a coffee on their daily commute.
The GoodBrews coffee shop is a joint start-up venture which has been set up by Anthony Dickson, 27, and his girlfriend Samantha Smallwood, 24, who gave up a job in high street retail to help run the business.
Anthony, a bus driver with Go North East for six years, and his partner Samantha saw the opportunity to redevelop the vacant shop and realise their dream of running their own business.
GoodBrews, which began trading on June 24, is situated in the heart of Gateshead Interchange, which is used by four million passengers each year for bus and Metro journeys.
Nexus, the public body which manages Gateshead Interchange, helped to redevelop the vacant unit in order to open up a new revenue stream. The new-look shop has also helped to give the interchange a fresher and more welcoming appearance, say Nexus.
Part of the inspiration came from Anthony’s Italian roots – his late grandfather hailed from the South of Italy – allied with a determination to create a vibrant new coffee shop brand, which the couple hope to expand in future years.
All of the refreshments on sale at GoodBrews are locally sourced and supplied, and Anthony is offering competitive prices compared to some of the high street giants like Costa Coffee and Starbucks.
Anthony, of South Shields, said: “I’m really proud that two years of hard work has come to fruition with the opening of our own business. We’re really excited about the Good Brews venture and we’re determined to make it a success.
“As a former bus driver I knew that Gateshead Interchange had a high footfall of passengers, making it the ideal location for a shop. Since we’ve opened we’ve seen exactly that, with customers coming in quite literally by the bus load.
“The Italian side of the family has inspired me to run my own coffee shop, so it’s very much a dream come true.
“This is just what Gateshead Interchange needed and the coffee and sandwich bar enhances the whole place and provides the people passing through with the ideal place to enjoy quality snacks and beverages.”
He added: “At GoodBrews we are using traditional, well-known local suppliers, such as Ringtons, who have been a great help to us. All of our sandwiches and cakes are locally sourced as well, while other items on the menu are made freshly in the shop.”
Nexus operations manager (Customer Services), John Souter, said: “Gateshead Interchange has needed an outlet like this for a long time. It has really brightened the place up, and with almost five million passengers passing through each year it has great footfall. The shop looks great and we wish them every success.”