A NEW independent café has opened in Brimscombe.

Felt Café opened on October 1 and business has been booming so far.

The owner Clair Brodie, 42, from South Africa, says opening a café is something she has wanted to do for a long time.

“Cooking has always been my passion, and when we moved to the UK in 2016, we decided now is the time as the kids are a little bit older.

“We looked for some time to find the right location as we wanted to stay local.”

The name of the café is inspired by the local history of the area.

“The building used to be a mill where they made felt for billiard tables and army uniforms so that’s where the name came from," she said.

Clair believes her previous experience in the kitchen will make the café a success.

“I worked at Lavender Bakehouse as the kitchen manager for a year and was head chef at the Canteen in Stroud for the last year before leaving to open Felt Cafe.

"My business experience comes from running a catering company in South Africa before we moved to Mauritius.”

Clair is aiming to create a community hub for residents and her first goal was to provide the best coffee possible to her customers.

“My main focus is to provide coffee that is delicious.

“We found a coffee roasters in Nottingham, OutPost Coffee Roasters. It’s a little bit further afield than keeping with the much loved ethos of only supporting local but we fell in love with the flavour of their coffee. It’s not the traditional tasting coffee, it’s much fruitier and we have had great feedback from our customers so far.

"And what we also really like about the roasters is that they’re dealing with the individual coffee farmers in Peru, Brazil and Ethiopia, paying them above fair trade prices.”

After moving to England from Mauritius with her husband and their children, Clair’s family fell in love with Stroud after a visit to the farmer’s market.

“We’ve only been in the area for three years,” she said. “The support from friends and folk in general really has been amazing. It’s great how people support new businesses in the area.”

Felt café make 90% of their cakes in house and they are currently developing a vegan gluten free cake. They have also begun serving breakfast and lunch everyday as well as handmade cakes, pastries, sandwiches and soups.

The café is open from 9am to 4pm from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and from 10am to 3pm on a Sunday during the winter months. They are also aiming to get a liquor licence for the summer.

“We have the most beautiful grass area beside the river Frome which will be brilliant in summer,” said Clair.

Clair also praised her staff, who have been vital for the café’s progress so far.

“We have a great team of staff who have been fantastic."

Clair says she also has big hopes for the future, with plans to maximise the outside space, and she said she'd like to thank everyone who has supported the cafe.

"We really are overwhelmed with the support. It’s been amazing and thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.”

The cafe is located at Bourne Mills, London Road.