Stuart Watkins (Café Italiano)

“In June 2009 I purchased a Fiat Fiorino from a guy that had originally bought it from Barbara (his partner was not interested in selling coffee, hence the sale). Being based in Bedfordshire I bought the van on ebay for a ‘song’ and wanted the van’s decor redesigned before picking it up in Newcastle. I was recommended by the seller to consult with Barbara from Coffee Latino. I gave her a call the next day (Monday) after buying the van and asked if she could come up with a design for my business – Café Italiano. Barbara sent me a template of a design and after a few tweaks she had the van sent for customization. To my amazement it was ready for collection 4 days later at a reasonable price. Upon collection of the van Barbara gave me starting stock off her own back and spent a good few hours giving me Barista training. A year down the line I always give her a call for advice and now buy all my stock from her. One day I had a problem with my power inverter and after losing sales I gave her a call in distress, I drove up to Newcastle on the Sunday and she spent the best part of the day trying to resolve the problem (She never mentioned it was her husband’s birthday until I was about to leave). In the beginning I was sourcing my own Cups and Coffee from various suppliers thinking I was saving. Barbara kept mentioning a new brand of coffee that she had acquired, after 8 months of using a well-known brand I tried a kilo of her coffee. It was £3 cheaper per kilo and the taste was the same as the other vendor, I was sold. I now buy all my cups, lids and coffee from Barbara. In general, I find Barbara extremely helpful and always takes the time to help where she can. Her knowledge of coffee and the general coffee trade is second to none. She puts her customers first and does her utmost to advise them on the best way forward. Barbara, I salute you. Thanks for helping Café Italiano becoming a profitable venture and may your business go from strength to strength. God bless.”