To celebrate The Hours Café & Bookshop’s three year anniversary here is the story behind how and why owners Nicola and Leigh set up shop in Brecon…
Owners Leigh Hendra & Nicola Bickerton graduated from University and both went into corporate customer service roles. They then decided to pursue an idea they had been talking about for a long while; to combine Leigh’s passion for literature and Nicky’s passion for cooking, along with their common interest in the arts! So The Hours Café and Bookshop was born.
They claim “as soon as we saw the small wonky building on Ship Street we knew it was perfect for what we wanted to do: create the kind of place they would like to stumble upon whilst meandering around a lovely market town like Brecon.” A grade 2 listed building, it needed a lot of work and dedication to get it to the standard it is today. The couple believe “similar to buildings on Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter books, it has a great sense of warmth.” Even though it took eight months to get planning permission to repaint the front and put up their sign, it didn’t put them off!
They wanted to capture the essence of the place – somewhere where people could wile away an hour or two with friends or family, relaxing; eating or drinking and browsing books, thus the name The Hours Café and Bookshop was born. ‘The Hours’ was also the working title for Virginia Woolf’s novel ‘Mrs Dalloway’ and they wanted to echo that literary connection.
“Our premise has always been value for money” say Nicola and Leigh who wanted to create fresh, home-cooked food, full of good flavours and lovingly prepared without extortionate prices. A third birthday is a significant milestone for any independent business, especially one involved in the bookselling industry. The huge support from the local community, they believe, is key to the success of any business.
They are now involved in four festivals throughout the year: Brecon Women’s Festival in March, Plethiad Klezmer & Balkan Music Festival in June, Brecon Fringe Festival in August, and Brecon Arts Festival in October. Artist Chris Townsend felt The Hours Café and Bookshop was so charming he painted Nicola and Leigh as part of his Brecon Arts Festival project (see above).
Nicola and Leigh are delighted to celebrate their anniversary – “Brecon has a very special place in our hearts and we believe the town has year-round appeal for locals and visitors alike. It truly is a town for all seasons and we are very happy and totally committed to playing our part in ensuring this wonderful town thrives for years to come.” As for the future, The Hours Café and Bookshop even have plans to launch their own mini festival – so watch this space!
To read more about Brecon Art Festival click here.