FROM walking her dogs Suzie and Dudley through People’s Park to running her own café in Grimsby’s premier green space – Caroline Ridlington is delighted with her new business venture.
Caroline lives just a short stroll away from the park and, like many other dog owners, she looks forward to her daily exercise routes around it. Since moving with her family from Caistor into Grimsby, she has become a regular. And so, when she saw the park’s café was closed, boarded up and needed a new lease of life, she decided to take the plunge.
Earlier this summer she was handed the keys to the venue from its owners North East Lincolnshire Council and has been getting the café ship-shape again. Now called ‘Coffee on the Park’, it is open Tuesday to Sunday, for coffees, other drinks, snacks, and cakes from 9.30am until 4.30pm.
Caroline is no stranger to running her own business – her former venture was a barber’s shop in Caistor. However, running a café is a new departure, and one she is thrilled about.
“We moved back to Grimsby two years ago and I started walking the dogs around the park. I fell in love with it and during lockdown it really helped me and so many other people. We could stop and have a safe, socially distanced chat in a wonderful space,” said Caroline.
“It is such a great place, it deserves to have something put back into it and so when I saw the ‘to let’ sign I knew I just had to have it. I wanted to create a café where people can get together, to bring their dogs and to have a chat over coffee and cake. For me, that’s what it’s all about,” she added.
The new café comes hot on the heels of North East Lincolnshire Council’s leasing of the Floral Hall to Gravity Red Inspires – a support service for young people.
Council Portfolio Holder for Finance, Cllr Stephen Harness is looking forward to paying a visit to both park venues: “People’s Park is a jewel in central Grimsby’s crown, and it is fantastic to see two great new ventures coming forward and investing in this wonderful green space and park land. May I wish both Caroline and Gravity Red Inspires all the very best.”
Park Ward councillors, Cllrs Daniel Westcott, Paul Silvester and Marian Boyd supported both businesses as they have progressed their plans for the park.
Cllr Westcott said: “I for one love this park as a place where people can come, stroll and relax and like Cllr Harness, I will be back for a coffee.”
Cllr Silvester added: “I wish Caroline all the very best with her new café, the park needs a meeting place, and I am sure it will be fantastic.”
Cllr Marian Boyd added: “Local residents have waited a long time for this. I wish Caroline the best of luck in what is a delightful place to meet and enjoy a good cup of coffee.”