A bookshop café has started a new chapter at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre in Hastings, as it is fast becoming a hub for local produce.
The café at Waterstones is helping underpin the local economy by sourcing food from regional suppliers, including two bakeries and a vegan foods specialist.
Products now being stocked include cakes from the Roebuck charity in Hastings, as well as confectionary and pastries from the family run Oak Bakery, in London Road, St Leonards.
The Oak Bakery makes all its own traditional style bread and specialities such as sourdough, soda bread, ciabatta and honey and walnut loaves, as well as family favourites like sausage rolls, pies, flans, sweet-bakes, biscuits and tarts.
The café at Waterstones also sources from vegan specialists Patty and Franks, based at Bexhill on Sea. The small plant-based caterers on Bexhill seafront Colonnade are known for their made-in-house patties and delicious range of vegan products.
The café not only raises funds for local charities but also welcomes neighbourhood groups to gather there over coffee, and has even established a small gallery of local artwork.
Waterstones café manager Roland Squire said: “We opened last September and it’s been an incredible journey. We now have a lovely amiable atmosphere with many regulars popping in several times a week.
“From the outset we wanted the café to reflect the true character of Hastings and remain an important gathering place for the loyal customers who returned to us when we underwent a change of format.
“We like to support local artists through our ‘Sneeky Peek’ exhibits. Currently adorning our walls are Hastings centric collages.
“In the future, now that we are more settled, we want to look at holding more community orientated events, such as book clubs, dungeons and dragons tournaments, even mystery film screenings.”
Priory Meadow Shopping Centre’s Centre Manager Stacey Bell said: “We are pleased to see such an inspiring approach by Waterstones to its in-store café.
“The idea of turning it into a real community hub is a very welcomed one.”
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