Independent bakeries: Coffee Kitchen Bakery, Cockermouth

The Coffee Kitchen in Cockermouth, Cumbria reminds us of why small, local, independent bakeries can be just great.

I visited them for the second time while on holiday in July 2021, and as with the first time kept going back for the two weeks I was there, The bread is very tasty (as in delicious) and there is plenty of variety, including a loaf made with coffee and an outstanding stoneground wholemeal. What the shop sells varies, with some filled rolls there regularly, others popping up at intervals, and with muffins and patisserie – such as apricot slices – appearing every so often.

Also, while the opening hours are regular enough, the doors are sometimes open when the bakery is just baking, and presumably getting pretty warm, and you can smell the lovely baking smell for some way around the area and see racks filling up inside, readying themselves for deliveries. The staff are cheerful too, even when it is raining outside. ‘classic Cumbria weather’, as one put it, and that despite their putting in many a long hour and working early, late, or both.

The Coffee Kitchen Bakery? Definitely cool, and if you’re in Cockermouth, cool.

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By Darren Weale, Founder, Cool Local, 2nd August 2021

Coffee with that? How coffee combos are rescuing the high street

Corporate coffee can be unpopular with people who value independent shopping on high streets. There are often objections to mega-chains such as Starbucks and Costa taking premises on British high streets and out of town locations (one in Wales here).

Cycle42, Orpington

Yet the high streets and shops that are doing best (or are, at least, surviving) frequently do so by adapting and mixing things up. Two are in Orpington in the London Borough of Bromley. Cycle42 is a bike/bike repair shop that has Lizzie fixing the coffee and Charlie fixing the bikes. Apparently there are cakes too, which means we’ll have to go back to investigate….

New Bookshop, Cockermouth

Meanwhile, we’ve also visited and greatly enjoyed the New Bookshop in Cockermouth in Cumbria. It isn’t that new, but it is very nice, and it too has coffee and cakes, and a few products related to the cute local sheep, the Herdwick.

The Orpington, Record Store Day 2019

Back in Orpington, a new part of the night (and day) life is ‘The Orpington’, a record shop and restaurant, another example of coffee meeting something different. That in turn isn’t a long way from Nicholas James, a butchers in Locksbottom that has, you guessed it, alongside the butchers, a coffee shop, a deli, wine and drinks, and a deli.

You could argue that all this is a bit confusing. Shouldn’t we have bakeries that are bakeries, DIY shops that are DIY shops, etc? The blunt answer is with so many of those closing, perhaps we can’t. Nor can we trust the government to help the shops out, as high street guru Mary Portas found. It may be too much to say that coffee is rescuing high streets, but it is certainly helping when used imaginatively. Perhaps it is time for more places on the high street to wake up and smell the coffee.