Member Spotlight: Olive ROC Centre

Olive ROC Centre

Independent hospitality and community are interchangeable terms. Often independent hospitality businesses form the bedrock of the communities they serve, and that statement could not be truer when it comes to Olive ROC Centre.

Nestled in the heart of Edgeley, the community-first cafe have been serving up smiles and providing a welcoming place for all for the past decade. In light of this amazing achievement, we spoke with them to find out more about the operation:

Congratulations on being open for ten years – that’s an incredible milestone. How does it feel?
It feels amazing to be able to celebrate being open for 10 years! I think with everything the hospitality industry has faced over the last decade – covid, rising costs etc – we are so grateful that people have kept on coming back to support us. I’m proud to say that we have built a really great community here.

What do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learnt running a business in that time?
I’ve only been with Olive ROC Centre for 5 years but I’ve learnt so much! It might sound cheesy but the most important thing that we’ve learnt as a management team is staying true to your values as a business, and working to hold each other up and support each other as a team. Though evolving and making changes is a necessary part of business, we try to take time to remind ourselves of our core values in every decision we make.

What do you find most rewarding about running the cafe?
Seeing the community we have built, the hope we have inspired and knowing we have changed people’s lives for the better.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone just starting out?
Take the time to really consider what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to be the best at something or trying to create a certain atmosphere? Are you teaching people about new food / food of a different culture? If you have a clear goal in mind that you can work towards, it will inform all your decisions later, and make them easier! Also, listen to your customers!

Talk to us about your love of supporting the community:
Though we are a cafe, community is at the heart of what we do. We exist to serve the community of Edgeley, and food is our way of bringing people together. It’s truly a blessing to see mini communities popping up in our cafe, whether guided by the groups we run, or friendships that have been formed by us introducing customers to each other. We also love our partnerships with local groups and organisations, it’s great to have the opportunity to bring people together, and help out where we can.

The toilet twinning project is amazing! How did that come about?
The toilet twinning is a national scheme which we are proud to be a part of! The scheme works to partner toilets, in the same way that some towns twin with other towns around the world. You pay a one-off fee and you twin your toilet with one in an area of need. It’s a wonderful scheme for any business to be a part of!

How do you decide what is to be the soup of the day?
Choosing daily specials can be so hard! I always try to strive for a mix of traditional dishes that people might know and love, and something a bit more “out there” that might encourage someone to try something new for the first time- it’s all about balance! Of course, with soup it also depends what is in season and we try to keep our soups seasonal.

What does it mean to be a ‘space of hope’?
Being a ‘space of hope’ means a few different things to us. We are a Christian cafe and this is reflected in everything we do, though we welcome customers and volunteers of all faiths or those with no faith. To us, being a space of hope is about showing God’s love to the community, not by overtly forcing faith on anyone who walks through the door, but by showing love through our actions, in taking time to talk to people, in our Pay it Forward scheme and our community events.

But being a space of hope also means being a place where people feel safe and at home, a place where they are valued as they are, and a space where they feel accepted. We aim to create this space to serve the community by bringing them together, whether through friendship or by connecting people who can help each other.

 

You can find out more about Olive ROC Centre here and follow their journey here.

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