Grant from council helps Shoreham coffee shop to flourish

Vanessa and Bob McCulloch run Tom Foolery in Shoreham
Vanessa and Bob McCulloch run Tom Foolery in Shoreham

Business is thriving for the Tom Foolery Coffee shop on Shoreham High Street after it received a £25,000 Coast to Capital grant from Adur and Worthing Chamber of Commerce to build a new kitchen

Bob and Vanessa McCulloch, both 48, of River Close, Shoreham, started the business from scratch in May 2014, spending £50,000 of their own money to get it off the ground.

But the couple did not come from a background in catering.

Vanessa worked in West Sussex Children’s Services and Bob worked in the arts, running art centres and music events.

Bob said: “We used to be on the road a lot, travelling and losing quality time. So we just thought we live in a beautiful place so let’s do something here.

“We wanted to work together and spend more time together. There were a few tea shops in the town but nowhere that specialised in coffee, so we thought let’s open a coffee shop.”

The shop was formerly part of the supermarket next door and needed a lot of work to transform it into the warm and welcoming place that they wanted it to be.

They commissioned local artists to create pieces of art for their walls and spent some time convincing the locals that it will not be a chain coffee shop and that they are in fact local Shoreham residence.

Vanessa said: “We wanted to create a community coffee shop where everyone would feel comfortable, we love the arts and creative people. We are very proud of what we have achieved and wanted to create a place where young people and families can go.”

After their first summer they began to do some customer research and they got a lot of feedback from customers wanting meals with their coffee. So they put together an expansion proposal to offer hot food.

They applied for £25,000 from the infrastructural development fund, which pays for capital projects. They received the grant because the council believed it would regenerate Shoreham High Street. As part of the agreement for getting the grant, the pair agreed to employ more people. They are now able to open in the evenings and have six full-time staff.

The café also now hosts many community events.

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