WHEN greyhound enthusiasts Dave and Anne Bull made friends with Tina Barron and Ian Pooley on the dog racing circuit they could never have guessed that six years later they would be setting up in business together.
And it’s nothing to do with greyhounds either - they have opened up their own cafe.
It was when Anne was made redundant from her job at Connexions in Gainsborough last September that she started to think of something else to do.
When the four friends got talking they all decided to take up the challenge of starting their own business, despite the tough economic climate.
The result is Clover Leaf Cafe, on Curtis Walk, just off Gainsborough Market Place.
Tina said: “I had been looking round for premises to open a charity shop to raise money for retired greyhounds and had seen this place, which had been a cafe before.”
“We got it in September and opened up in November. It was empty and cold but it just had a lovely feel to it.”
“We had some ideas of how to make it different so we just decided to go for it.”
The four have a secret ingredient in Ian, who comes from an award-winning catering family and is a trained chef.
His parents opened The Chestnuts at Glentham in the 1960s and also owned Ten Acres at Market Rasen.
He said: “Our biggest strength we have is our quality ingredients which we source locally, some of it from family and friends.”
“We get top quality meat, beef, bacon and sausages, from Tina’s family’s business Wolds Select.”
Cakes are homemade by Dave’s daughter Michelle Hopkinson and Tina’s friend Becky McKenzie.
Ian said: “Favourites at the moment are cake pops, a cake dipped in chocolate and put on a lolly stick.”
“Our relishes and chutneys are all homemade and we do our own honey roast ham here on the premises and we also make our own Scotch eggs
The four are realistic about the cafe’s location and have kept prices reasonable for the local market.
They are offering ‘designer’ all-day breakfasts where customers can choose their own selection of ingredients, three items for £2.50 or five for £3.50.
They already have regular customers and have had people coming in through word-of-mouth recommendations.
Dave, who said he has always wanted to open a cafe, will be rustling up his speciality, chocolate pancakes with lime sauce, for Shrove Tuesday and on Valentine’s Day there will be a special themed evening.
Anne said: “We are taking bookings for the evening of 14th February from 6.30pm to 9.30pm. We’re doing a set menu for £17.95 with has a choice of starters, main course and dessert.”
Choices include the traditional aphrodisiac asparagus as a soup starter, and a dessert called ‘hot stuff’ cherries with praline and chocolate sauce.
Anne said: “I’m a people person so I like being front of house. It’s early days but things are going well and we’re planning to hold more themed evenings.”
Clover Leaf is open Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.