On 14th June Boston Tea Party opened in Chichester and on 12th I attended the opening party for the new cafe on Baffins Lane.
Chichester is a lovely place and often has the atmosphere of luxury and a relaxed nature. Well, thats what it seems like now I am not a student there (though, that was 10 years ago now, so...)
On arrival I was met by a number of friendly faces and welcomed to the event. It's lovely, but you sometimes get a feeling that the smiles are being put on at some of these events. Here though, much like the events I have attended at the very nearby Body Shop, the staff were friendly, happy to answer questions, talk about their experiences as the cafe has been setting up, and provide information about the BTP brand as well as serving or networking.
I liked the layout, with a combination of tables, booths and sofas to provide a flexible social space.
I have spoken before about mate dates and have a new post coming very soon about the recent bank holiday and catching up with friends.
Mate dates have become really important to me, having that time with one or two friends to sit down and talk. For me, again, it can be really important to just get out of the house and go somewhere. So knowing a few different places that are 'good spots' is really handy. Particularly as someone who struggles with depression having and making that time can be so important.
This is were BTP's location is an additional plus for me, because it involves a short walk from the car park or train station. This can give you time before or after sitting down with someone to get some air and 'walk it out'. That physical side to conversations can be really important too (there are pay and display bays just outside, if you don't want the walk).
I was blown away by the welcoming nature of the staff, from all departments of the company, in regards to talking about mental health. Some listened as I spoke about my views and experiences and others spoke about their own health and wellbeing. Considering this was an opening event, it's not just a random Tuesday. There were plenty of things that need to be done lots of people, over 150 I would say, to talk to. It would have been easy to say hi, thats interesting, I have to go. Yet, each person I spoke to seemed genuinely interested in talking and hearing about mental health and charity work.
The facilities, the decor it was all nice. But I have been to other nice places. For me I really felt that the atmosphere and environment the staff were creating was way more important and would be much more of a reason for me to go back. Though, obviously it's good that it looks nice.
I did also notice the speakers on the wall, Sonos Play 1's. Of which I have two, so I was very impressed to see those.
I can not actually believe this, but I didn't go to the toilet (shock I know), so I can tell you nothing about them. Disaster, total Blogger fail.
One of the benefits of the causal style BTP had was the roaming (networking) staff. From some I heard about the design of the cafe, the brand, the local area, their passion for charity and their 'cups'.
Like the observant fellow I am I had walked past two posters telling me about the campaign, without seeing them. So I was really interested when it was spoken about (because I knew as much as Jon Snow).
Heres a quote from the website.
"We joined the global war on plastic some time ago. We stopped using plastic straws and plastic bottles, and have always done what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle. However, the elephant in the room was still the vast amount of single use coffee cups which left our cafes, only to be tossed into a bin, or worse, on the ground."
Maybe I haven't seen a particular documentary. But I have found it strange that straws have been outlawed, while largely no one talks about the huge number of cups thrown away each day in our coffee centric society. I liked that BTP were talking about this and have implemented their own reusable cups only campaign.
If you would like to find out more about BTP you can visit their site - bostonteaparty.co.uk
I enjoyed visiting BTP in Chichester and whether its do a solo date, mate date, or a mental health meet up, I will definitely be going back soon and considering it as a meeting spot in future.