A catering couple are helping reduce the number of empty shops in Whitley Bay while creating new jobs.
Julie Stimpson and her partner Martin Summers set up Olives Coffee in Whitley Road last year.
But in the last fortnight they have increased their portfolio by opening Olives at the Station – a bar, bistro and brasserie in Whitley Bay Metro station – and Olives Fish and Chips in nearby Station Road, which opened last Friday.
The pair have created ten jobs in the three establishments and were keen to give something back to the town.
Julie said: “We wanted to do something at this end of Whitley Bay to make it better as we live nearby.
“The three were all shut down businesses, all were empty units. The chip shop hadn’t been open for two years.
“We’re taking on these empty shops with the intention of doing good.”
Julie said they had wanted to take over the Boardwalk Cafe, at Watts Slope, but that the council were looking to demolish the building.
“We put together proposals for the Boardwalk Cafe but the council wouldn’t release it.
“We offered to pay rent for 12 months in advance, put together a 15-page document outlining our plans including menus and a maintenance report.
“The council just kept pushing us towards the new units in the Dome they are creating so instead we came to the station as we wanted to bring some life back to the Metro station.”
The restaurant in the station offers light lunches, breakfasts, afternoon teas, homemade soup, sandwiches and has a fully licensed bar.
It also has a terrace and can accommodate up to 150 people which Julie believes will make it attractive for functions or parties.