The cafe opened in September 2018. My best friend Cosmin owned the place with his wife Laura – that’s why it’s called Laco, from Laura and Cosmin. I won’t change the name though, they’re great friends and I want to keep it between us, I like it that way.
Me and Cosmin grew up together, we went to school together. We even live across the road from each other now! Laura used to work in the kitchen, and when she got pregnant I started helping out at the café. Laura and Cosmin left last September, when their daughter Sofia was born, but they’re still shareholders. Because of Sofia, I got the place! I’ll go and see her later today.
I work seven days a week to make it great, although I had a few days off at Christmas and New Year. Every day here is different.
I like to buy fresh every day, I’m not lazy so I don’t mind going shopping each morning – that’s why people like it here, it’s always fresh.
A lady who hadn’t been to Stockport in fifteen years came in the other day, she said “It’s guys like you that make me want to come back to Stockport!” It’s my regulars that make the place. There’s a real mix of people, everyone can come in here, we treat everyone the same. I get a lot of the same people coming in on certain days of the week. Over a year and a half we’ve had no complaints, we have five star reviews on TripAdvisor, thanks to them.
Some people open businesses for the money, and some people open them for the passion – for me it’s definitely a passion. I was a coffee trainer and restaurant manager for ten years, so I had a lot of experience even before Laco. I love it more here every day!
We have tried to make it nice in here with the decorating, and I think we’ve pulled it off! We have art up from local artists. These paintings of Stockport are by the daughter of one of my regulars. And then these paintings for sale, they’re by a local artist, she brings different ones in and we change them around. Some other people have asked if we can sell their art here too – I said if I get more walls, I’ll be happy to accommodate your art as well!
We changed the front of the building, what I want is some white wooden blinds, I think it will look really smart. Let me show you – I want to get some flowers like this in planters, all along the front, make a small terrace, a few tables, and a canopy.
The Underbanks has a lot of potential. I’ve seen pictures of this street from the 70s, all the restaurants and shop windows, I want it back the way it was then. But the past is the past, the future is the way forward! Patience is a virtue. I think in a few years, it’ll be thriving again – the Underbanks will be the new town centre. I prefer it here to in the centre, it’s got a lot of new independent businesses, not all chains. I’m looking forward to more opening soon, bringing more people in. It’s definitely an upcoming area.
The only bad thing here, a very small thing, is that there’s not much parking! But it’s great here, I know there’s things that will change to make it even better – I’d be the first one to do it. I’m here for the long haul!