Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Growth industries

While the pandemic has - sadly but inevitably - made trading tough if not outright impossible for some local independent businesses, it's also given birth to others. Take Kapow Ribs, for instance - born out of John Cook's need to pay the bills while working to set up Rocket & Rye. Or Wine Fiend, which founder Dean Euden admits wouldn't exist if redundancy hadn't given him the necessary "kick up the arse to fulfil a dream".

Dean regularly plies his wares at the revitalised Clearwater Parade at weekends, where he's in the company of several others whose business ambitions have been catalysed because of (rather than in spite of) coronavirus: former insurance broker Jay Rahman-Miah, who's set up chicken shop Wing Stack; Neil Cowhey, who's ditched cheffing to open his own bike and beer store the Dropbar Workshop; Naniel Jones, once a bar manager and now a creator of music merchandise and purveyor of vintage clothing; Skye Noman, who's founded Oh My Shakes while still a student; Ash Parfitt and Joe Granville, who've swapped welding and health care for baking OTT doughnuts and "rogue" Welsh cakes respectively.

As well as boosting some people's entrepreneurial aspirations, the pandemic has given rise to creative and innovative initiatives - such as the Tuesday and Wednesday takeover of Kemi's cafe in Pontcanna by a team from refugee charity Oasis. We paid a visit last week, returning home with delicious falafel wraps for lunch, plus some coconut-covered Turkish delight for dessert and a pouch of their Eritrean coffee blended with ginger to keep us perky through long workday afternoons.

Perhaps most heartening is the evidence that some existing businesses that I know and love are not merely surviving but actually thriving. Not only are Hard Lines now ensuring that you can get a decent coffee in Chapter, such has been the success of their Canton HQ that they've needed to free up more room and so have decided to relocate their roastery to new premises in Gwaelod-y-Garth. The prospect of being able to pop in for a cuppa while on a bike ride up the Taff Trail certainly appeals...

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