A local coffee shop does so much more than ensure residents cure their caffeine cravings.
They reduce social isolation, provide healthy food and drink options at a low cost and, best of all, bring communities together.
This, along with their shared passion for entrepreneurship, led Angela Jackson and Shona Buchan down the exciting path of opening Beachside Coffee Shop, based in the Balmedie Leisure Centre.
The duo’s journey started in 2014 after realising the local community “needed a coffee shop as a hub”. And from there, they began rallying a team and establishing what the venue would offer.
Shona, leisure centre manager, said: “Working in the leisure centre, we knew the community needed the coffee shop as a hub for the village – a place for friends to meet up for lunch or a coffee.
“Angela and I were excited to be a part of a new venture in the village.”
Angela, the cook at the coffee shop, has always loved being around the public, so the move was perfectly suited to her.
“My mum was a great home cook,” she said. “I went to the Dough School (Robert Gordon University at Kepplestone) to study nutrition and dietetics and we had to do lots of bulk cooking that then fed the students in halls.
“It was good practice for making large pots of homemade soup!
“I then worked behind the bar at the Oldmachar British Legion and, when my children were little, got a job at the Boilermakers on King Street.
“I have always loved being around the public and making sure I give them the best food, drinks and service I can.
“I never dreamed seven years ago I’d be doing so much cooking and home baking, but Shona and I have found what works for us and what’s most popular with our customers.”
Beachside Coffee Shop opened its doors in May 2014 and currently consists of a close-knit team of seven.
From hot and iced coffees and teas, beers and wines to sandwiches and freshly baked goods, there are an array of tasty menu items that are sure to satisfy anyone’s tastes.
Shona said: “I really feel what makes us so popular (and is something we are really proud of) is the fact that we make 99% of our food and home bakes in house – our soups and scones are customer favourites.
“We have a range of coffees (lattes and cappuccinos are our most popular) teas and soft drinks, as well as wines, spirits, beer (some produced by Brew Toon) and cider available.
“Our coffee beans are freshly ground Carroro Coffee.”
Angela added: “With regards to the food on offer, this includes freshly made-to-order sandwiches, paninis, toasties, baked potatoes and soups. We also do a very popular afternoon tea.
“I plan each week which soups will be freshly made every day, while our scones, traybakes and cakes are fresh every morning.
“Traybake and cake examples include coconut slices, Biscoff rocky road, Mars crispies, cranberry and white chocolate tiffin, and much more.
“I also ensure all food is freshly made to order so customers are served as quickly as they can be.
“We asked our customers what they had missed during lockdown and the overwhelming majority was our scones and lentil soup.”
The coffee shop operated a takeaway service – when restrictions allowed – at multiple points over the past year.
But as restrictions continue to ease across the north-east, the venue has since welcomed customers back to enjoy its quality food and drink something that the owners are delighted about.
We are very proud of our business, our team and how much our local community appreciates us,” Angela said.
“A key highlight for us has been becoming a hub of Balmedie. We have been really valued by everyone over the years and it’s lovely knowing how much they have missed us.”
Shona added: “We are so excited to welcome back our wonderful customers and staff.
“Going forward, Angela and I would like to explore more evening and weekend events – maybe themed nights.
A Round of Questions with Angela Jackson
Keen to find out more about one of the minds being Beachside Coffee Shop? Well, take a look at how Angela got on in our round of questions.
What’s your customer ice breaker?
Fit like i’day!
It’s the end of your shift – what do you pour yourself?
A strong coffee.
If you were a coffee/drink, what would you be and why?
I would be a double shot latte – nice and strong.
Most unusual coffee/drink you’ve ever tried?
A Turkish tea I had on holiday. I wasn’t a fan, it tasted like stewed tea.
What would the theme song to your average shift be?
Happy by Pharrell Williams as we are a close, happy team.
What’s in your drinks cabinet at home?
Lots of alcohol to make cocktails – oh, and plenty vodka too.
Best food and drink pairing?
Definitely a Beachside Coffee Shop coffee with a freshly baked, warm scone with butter and jam.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what three drinks would be there with you?
Coffee, vodka and diet Irn Bru.
You have to make a drink to represent Aberdeen. What would that be?
One of our local brewery beers.
You have to serve your favourite superhero or celebrity a drink. Who is it and what do you serve them?
It would have to be a glass of fizz or a gin and tonic for Delia Smith. Her first recipe book was my Bible when I was at university…