It shows courage to open a hospitality venue at a time of soaring expenses and during a cost-of-living crisis.
But Kirkcaldy man Paul Armour says taking the risk has “worked a treat”.
Paul launched Ecobean, his ethically sourced Artisan coffee roasting company in 2018 when he purchased and converted an old horse box and installed a small coffee roaster and espresso machine.
He took the business out to customers on Kirkcaldy’s promenade, roasting coffee onsite and designing new blends and took his produce to markets and fairs.
From there he developed a wholesale side of the business and opened a retail unit in St Clair Street.
At the end of last year he decided to take the next stage of growth for his business by opening a coffee bar within the Mercat Shopping Centre.
Moving to grow Ecobean
Paul explains the reasons for the move.
He said: “The other shop was still viable but I needed to expand. The St Clair Street shop was geared towards the wholesale customers. It closed in September.
“To grow I needed this next move to have a café.
“Feedback from customers suggested it would be more convenient for them if I was in the High Street area.
“After months of searching for a suitable property, I decided on the unit in the Mercat Centre where Carlton’s café was situated.
“We opened in December and haven’t looked back.”
Ecobean future plans in Fife
He says the feedback and support from customers has been “amazing”.
As well as customers being able to buy coffees, Paul also sells bags of ground beans. He sells these in a reusable tin, which he gives away for free, which can then be refilled.
He is not ruling out opening more of his specialist cafes, a decision he’ll take in around six months.
Paul adds: “We are called Ecobean because we try to be eco-friendly in everything we do.
“It is a tough time to be in business but I’ve got a really good product.
“I’m getting fantastic comments on the coffee, which is sourced using a specialist importer.”
Paul is also looking at acquiring a new coffee roaster that could operate within the Mercat shop and allow him to have everything self-contained.
He is also being assisted by Business Gateway Fife as he looks to recruit several part-time staff to cover the cafe and markets.