AN EX-STUDENT of Harlow College has opened her own café in the Stonards Hill Recreation Ground in Epping, Essex.
Julie Turrell had a soft opening for her café, named ‘Julie’s at Stonards’, on Good Friday (April 19). The dog-friendly café serves breakfast, lunch and snack items alongside hot and cold beverages.
The 19-year-old completed a Level 3 Creative Media Production diploma course at Harlow College before progressing onto the Level 4 Creative Enterprise course the college offers.
The course content ranges from creating business models to finance fundraising and budgeting, all in hopes of providing students with relevant skills to kickstart their professional careers in creative industries.
“When it got to the back office of everything, I wasn’t very good at doing any of the figures or the maths. I’m just better at dealing with people.
“So I dropped out of that course because I never thought I would start a business and then six months later I’ve got this!”, Julie revealed.
She stressed how Harlow College enabled her to realise that she learns best visually which in turn has helped when family members have been mentoring her in business, finance and law.
“It’s bizarre though. Just a couple of months ago, I was doing nothing with my life. I’d be sitting in bed for the whole day and if I didn’t have to go anywhere – like to exercise classes or to work – I probably wouldn’t leave the house for about a week at a time.
“It’s [Julie’s at Stonards] therapeutic. Now I’m basically surrounded by nature and it’s really good for my mental health.
“Obviously I’ve had a few issues with customers that can be rude, but for the one person that’s a horrible customer you have about ten good people. So it’s really worth it.”
With an increase in people following vegan diets, Julie admitted: “We don’t have any vegan cakes at the moment, which someone came in yesterday and asked for, so we’re definitely looking into vegan options.
“We can make alterations. Someone who is vegan came in and asked for a tomato sandwich with no butter, so if they ask for we’ll give it to them. It might not be the most appealing thing to us, but if they like it we’re happy to do it for them.”
The café does however have vegetarian, gluten-free, wheat-free and dairy-free options, including their gluten-free lemon polenta cake and chocolate and nut brownies.
At Julie’s at Stonards, prices range from £3.50 for a pot of tea for two to £7.50 for a seven-piece breakfast. Dog owners can also get their pets a ‘doggy-ccino’ for £1.
For more information, you can email ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or visit the ‘Julie’s at Stonards’ page on Facebook.