Karen Tyas is a Penistone girl with a passion for baking that was instilled in her by her grandmother when she was a child. She’s worked in catering since she was 15 and her ambition was always to own a café and cake shop of her own.
In 2012, Karen joined forces with her mum to buy her shop and Café Crème went from a dream to reality. However, Karen wanted to do more than just bake, she was determined to support her community through the business.
Baking in experience
Karen’s own food intolerances have led to a greater understanding of food than the average chef.
She was placed on a gluten-free diet back in 2005 – a time when ‘free from’ food ranges were only in very specialist shops. Karen researched, experimented and set herself the challenge of baking cakes that she could eat - but also tasted every bit as good as those using traditional ingredients.
Karen says, “Our location in the heart of the market town makes us a natural focus to foster and grow community spirit. A large number of people in our community need or choose a gluten and dairy free diet. And because I know what it’s like to be gluten free it's easy for me to help newly diagnosed people too.”
"A large number of people in our community need or choose a gluten and dairy free diet. And because I know what it’s like to be gluten free it's easy for me to help newly diagnosed people too.”
The cherry on top
Café Crème also works with the local community garden, selling its produce and promoting its events and open days. Sales at the café raise £40 to £50 each week for the project. The Cafe’s location enables the elderly and less mobile to buy from the project which is based out of town.
Karen also helps educate local school children running gluten and dairy free cooking sessions in the local school. This meant one child who is coeliac could cook and eat the food they’d made at school for the first time. It also educated the other children about food intolerances.
Karen is also an active member of the local Roundtable, helping at numerous fundraising events.
Café Crème also shares the benefits of its location in other ways. It assists with community partnership projects acting as a drop-off and collection point for forms. It hosts arts and community groups like the book club and the poetry group and is a showcase and retail outlet for the local pottery classes.
Each of these groups has been able to recruit new members and raise more funds with Café Crème’s support.
The Café Crème Facebook Page is full of positive reviews, one recent customer posted, “Cafe Creme is outstanding, I have a wheat allergy and today I ordered a chicken fajita with gluten free wrap, they had run out of wraps, but Karen went out of her way to make some for me. I was so impressed that she did that what an amazing cafe, the best one I've been to. Keep off the lemon drizzle cake though, it's mine!”
This great independent café is at the heart of its community and found a niche which means it can bake way more than cake for the locals.
Has your small business got a big heart like Café Crème? If so tell us your story by completing our short survey here and watch this space for details of the 2017 BusinessesForSale.com Small Business Big Heart Awards.