QUALITY local produce alongside the manager’s experience in coffee shops around the world proved a winning combination for Accrington’s Black Horse Food Emporium. At the inaugural Hyndburn Business Awards in 2016, the town centre coffee shop’s unique offering proved irresistible to the judges. Manager Natalie Paintin said: “I travelled round the world and I funded it by working in coffee shops, then latterly I worked as a fundraising manager for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. My in-laws own Ye Olde Sausage Shop in Oswaldtwistle Mills and were looking for a town centre presence when they spotted the Black Horse on Abbey Street. The former pub had been derelict for a few years, but they saw the potential and bought it so they own it and I manage it. “The coffee shop is a showcase for their products and also for food from all over Lancashire. Whatever customers eat in the coffee shop they can also buy to take home. The range includes everything from sausages, cheese and bread down to the butter and crisps with 90 per cent of our menu sourced from Lancashire producers.”

When a customer nominated the business last year Natalie hoped they would do well, especially when they were short-listed for four awards. She said: “You always think you may be in with a shout, but we were up against much larger businesses and I didn’t expect to win the Food Business trophy, but was delighted when we did.”

In 2014, the business was runner up in the local shop category of the national Delicatessen and Farm Shop Awards. Natalie said: “I think the local awards are brilliant and Hyndburn businesses do not get the recognition they deserve. When we won it really raised our profile and a lot of new customers came in. It also boosted the morale of the five members of staff who work here.”

Since last year cakes have really taken off at the business and now they are all home-made by Natalie and her team, much to the delight of customers. She said: “We realised there was a lull after 1.30pm so we introduced buy a cake and have a free drink and it proved really successful. We used to buy in four cakes a week, which were made locally, but now we make the majority of them ourselves and bake up to 14 each week.”

Article by Catherine Smyth Media