The new owner of a popular Lake District café and gift shop is planning to include a book shop at the premises.
Al Verey is due to complete the purchase of Treetops at Pooley Bridge at the end of this month.
The thriving established licenced café, food to go and gift shop in a prime central position in Pooley Bridge had been on the market through Hackney and Leigh estate agents at offers over £995,000.
Mr Verey, 42, who lives just outside Mungrisdale with his wife Lori and two sons, is delighted to have bought Treetops and has exciting plans for its future.
“I inquired out of the blue about Treetops in February because I have wanted to set up a book shop for a while and I always thought Treetops would make a really good location,” said Mr Verey.
“It was not available at that point but a few months later it came on the market and I was lucky enough to have my offer accepted.”
Mr Verey plans to keep the café offering cakes and coffee and to continue selling the very popular ice cream. Some gifts will also be sold but the gift shop will be largely transformed into a new bookshop. “The focus will be on local interest books, local authors, children’s books and general fiction.
“If I can squeeze a bit of Wordsworth in there too, I will,” said Mr Verey, who has been an English language and literature teacher and who spent two years as a guide at Dove Cottage, the Lakeland poet’s home in Grasmere from 1799-1808.
“I am hoping we can organise some signing events and readings involving local authors and set up book groups.”
Name change considered
Mr Verey said he was considering changing the trading name of the premises to The Pooley Bridge Book Shop and Café. It was likely that around three staff would be employed.
He is hoping to keep the café open during the summer but the premises will close for a couple of weeks at some stage to make some changes inside. It is hoped the book shop will open in September.
Mr Verey, who writes poetry influenced by nature and the rugged Cumbria landscape, said: “I am hoping the venue will become a focal point for all things literary – a community space for words and art and food.”
Treetops includes a spacious self-contained first-floor two-bedroom apartment, together with a main ground floor retail sales, food to go and café area of about 940 square feet, plus additional room at the rear including a kitchen/preparation room and utility room.
The property has an interesting history. It is understood it was once offices for the Ullswater Steam Navigation Company, was used as a post office and was called Harrisons Refreshment Rooms in the early part of the twentieth century.
Mr Verey said: “I am feeling excited and thrilled to be taking over the premises and somewhat daunted to be following in the footsteps of the previous owners, who established Treetops as a Pooley Bridge venue which was much-loved by locals and tourists.”
Previous owner Richard Burton successfully traded at Treetops for around 18 years. Richard, who was born in Keswick, educated at Keswick School and studied hotel management and hospitality at Kendal College, had the tenancy for the Aira Force café for more than ten years, before buying Treetops in 2003.
Mr Burton and his wife Susan plan to spend time travelling and potentially pursuing other business interests.
He said he would miss the regular social contact with customers but he and Susan, who grew up in Penrith, planned to remain living in the area.
The current sale of Treetops was managed by Nick Elgey, property sales and marketing consultant for Hackney and Leigh, who commented: “Treetops offered an exceptionally rare opportunity to acquire a truly outstanding freehold property with a prime trading position and idyllic setting close to Ullswater.
“I considered it to be an ideal purchase for either investors or resident owner-operators who are seeking a lifestyle change with the ability to further develop the existing business or adopt an alternative trading use in a stunningly beautiful location and renowned tourist destination.”