A Fife man who spent much of the past 12 months on furlough is set to open his first coffee shop in Dundee.
Fraser Smith plans to convert the former Ladbrokes on Dundee’s Perth Road into his first EH9 Espresso cafe.
Former Madras College pupil Fraser said his love of coffee started during his time at university.
He said: “My mum was the one who nudged me towards the coffee industry.
“I needed a part-time job to cover the cost of my university accommodation and she was keen for me to try for a local cafe.
“I started out in a small cafe with no idea what I was doing but before long I became engrossed.
“The learning hasn’t stopped – that’s what I enjoy about being a barista, it is a craft that takes years to perfect.”
Now is the right time for EH9 Espresso
Fraser, who graduated with a degree in sports and recreation management in 2018, left his café job to take up a role with Scottish Rugby Hospitality.
The 25-year-old from Newport acknowledged it was a risk to leave that position to start up his own business.
He decided to take the plunge in April having been “on and off furlough” for the past 12 months.
Fraser said: “It gave me a lot of time to work on my business plan.
“It was a very hard decision to leave to take the risk of opening my own business.
“It’s not been cheap – I was maybe a bit naive when I started.
“I feel that now is the right time for me to open up my own business.”
The name is inspired by his time at university in the capital, and is also inspired by the Desperate Dan statue in Dundee.
He added: “I wanted a logo which was lighthearted but also makes a statement about how good our coffee is.
“I hope it will continue to be a big part of Dundee’s culture much like Desperate Dan himself.”
Addressing concerns raised
Two objections – centred around litter and parking problems – were made to the council’s planning department.
The concerns were dismissed as the application was approved.
Fraser hopes he can play his part in a busy part of the city.
“Perth Road is an amazing hub of independent businesses,” he said.
“I will be making endeavours to reduce takeaway packaging as much as possible.
“We can’t currently serve coffee in reusable takeaway cups, but when the pandemic permits, we will promote the use of these.”
‘Can’t wait to get started’
Despite nerves, he is looking forward to throwing the doors open later this month.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t nerves but it’s a calculated risk,” he said.
“Everything is going to be simple but outstanding quality. I want the focus to be on how good everything tastes.
“I do have faith in the concept and I just can’t wait to get started.”