£40K makeover for Carlisle’s John Watt & Son

John Watt & Son’s Bank Street shop and cafe is open again after a major makeover and nearly four months in lockdown.

The Carlisle site has been given a £40,000 refurbishment to improve the shop and café but retain the history and tradition this much-loved city institution is known for.

Customers can now enjoy a cup of their favourite blend in brighter, more spacious surroundings while safe in the knowledge that a range of Covid-19 measures including screens and signage are in place for their protection.

The revamp saw old flooring replaced, painting and decorating throughout the building and better toilet facilities installed.

As well as 11 Bank Street John Watt and Son’s four other cafes – at Blackfriars Street, Tullie House, Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life have reopened and throughout lockdown the John Watt team have been supporting key workers by providing catering for Accord Healthcare.

Owner Carol Johnston said: “These past few months have been a difficult time for everyone at John Watt but the way people have continued to support us has been fantastic and we can’t thank them enough.

“With our branches being closed until last week we focussed on the delivery side of the business and so many of our regular customers who would usually pop into the cafes have ordered their coffee and tea supplies via our website and over the phone. In fact, we saw a really big increase in online sales throughout the lockdown period which has been so important in helping us weather the pandemic.

“It’s great to now be able to welcome people back to our cafes though and I’m sure those coming to Bank Street will see that we’ve tried to strike a balance between giving our flagship site a bit more of an up-to-date feel while keeping the building’s longstanding John Watt tradition dating all the way back to 1897.”

The Bank Street shop and café is currently operating on slightly reduced hours. It’s open from 9am-4pm Monday to Thursday, 8am-5pm on Friday and Saturday and 9:30am-4pm on Sundays (last orders 30 minutes before closing).

All of the John Watt & Son branches are included in the Government’s ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme running every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during August (Tullie House café Tuesday and Wednesday only). The promotion gives customers a discount of up to 50 per cent with a maximum discount of £10 per person starting on the 3rd of August running till the 31st of August 2020.