A new coffee shop has opened in Caterham-on-the-Hill and the fact it is themed around music is particularly appropriate.
Because behind the shop, which is named +42Beans, is the new studio of the town’s community radio station,, as it was in need of a new home.
The coffee shop on Westway is owned and run by Mark Hughes, who used to have a photography studio on the premises.
Mark also has a rock and blues programme on Ridge Radio, aired every Wednesday from 7 to 9pm.
When he decided to replace his photography studio with a coffee shop, Ridge Radio, previously based in Caterham Valley, on Croydon Road, moved into the space in the back half of his building.
The radio station moved into its new home in October, but more work needed to be done to the building and to set up the business before the coffee shop could open its doors.
Last month (January), the coffee shop was finally ready to open and Mark has been able to display his passions for photography and music in his new venture.
Mark’s photos of bands and gigs adorn one wall and the corridor leading to the radio studio, while there are other iconic photos of musicians and comedians decorating other walls. The likes of David Bowie and The Rolling Stones watch over you as you relax on the sofas.
There are wooden floors and comfy seating in the venue, which can seat up to 20 people. And of course, Ridge Radio plays in the background, as well as other music.
Mark wanted to provide a place for people to pop in and have a cup of coffee and a chat as he felt there was a lack of provision in that part of town.
He said: «Anyone can come in and have a coffee – it’s not just for the radio station but people off the street.»
A variety of people visit the shop, including mums with children, pensioners and people who want to make use of the free wifi.
Mark buys in a Fairtrade coffee which sees a percentage of his purchase go to Macmillan Cancer Support.
If coffee isn’t your thing, you can choose from the range of specialty teas or the popular hot chocolate.
If you’re feeling peckish, you can tuck into muffins, flapjacks, millionaire’s shortbread and crisps.
Already +42Beans has been getting rave reviews on its Facebook page.
Mark said: «It has been really well-received. A lot of people just wander in on the off-chance and we give them a coffee and they are really impressed.
«We describe it as ‘possibly the best coffee in Caterham’. [You can] listen to great music while drinking freshly ground coffee.»
Meanwhile Mark has also been enjoying running his new business. He said: «It’s great. It’s definitely a change of direction for me.»