Ramsgate’s Harbour Street can boast yet another new business with the opening of Book Bodega last week.
The independent store is the venture of couple Sapphire Bates and Nick Turner who have taken the former accountants site and created a bright, book filled oasis for eager readers.
The couple, who live at the West Cliff, are both avid readers and decided to take the plunge when the premises came up.
Sapphire, 28, already runs The Coven Girl Gang, an online and in person group for independent businesswomen. Nick, 37, is the boss of Board the Waves, a jetboard school and hire company running at the Western Undercliff.
Nick said: “It had been ripped out so we got (the building) as a shell and have been doing it up for about two-and-a-half months.
“We are both avid readers and we can both talk people through 80% of the books here.”
Customers can also grab a coffee at the counter and Nick is planning to cook up patisseries and sausage rolls too.
Sapphire said: “We just went from saying we could do it to deciding ‘let’s do it.’ The first week has been amazing with so many people coming in to support us.
“Nick can take his bookings when he wants and I can work (on The Coven) when I like and have staff which means we can take turns being at Book Bodega.”
Book Bodega joins a growing number of new businesses in Harbour Street, including Days supermarket, Jah Jah Jamaican restaurant, the upcoming TLC American restaurant and the takeover of Celandine Hall by The Modern Boulangerie baker George Bellamy and his team.
These sit alongside established Harbour Street businesses including Ramsgate Tandoori, owned by town mayor Raushan Ara, and Nice Things, which changes hands this month after boss Suzie Humphries announced its closure after 12 years. Turner Rowe Art Centre & Gallery will open at the site in July. Glass maker Jo Turner- whose work has been sold in Nice Things – will run the new business with her artist colleague Fran Ballard.
The gating off of the street last December, making Harbour Street pedestrian only during the day, has also contributed to making the road feel much more shopper-friendly.
Cllr Ara said: “The gate has reduced the amount of vehicles entering Harbour Street and passing through the town centre. As the mayor I have, over the last few months, been delighted to have been present at the opening of several new businesses, that have opened up in Harbour Street. As the mayor and a business owner I welcome them in our town and I wish them all, every success.”
Book Bodega is at 7 Harbour Street. Opening hours Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Closed Mondays. Find it on instagram here