It’s based in the auction mart offices and had been purely the café for those attending the livestock market but Sam and her friend Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Robinson quit their wagon driving careers to launch it as a full-time business in 2010.
Now, Teacups is a hit with walkers, static caravanners, cyclists, bikers, classic car and rally car enthusiasts.
“Our first couple of years were very good,” says Sam, whose connections with the mart have a farming side as she and husband Andrew who live in Ramsgill and have a smallholding in Laverton traded lambs here.
“But then the recession hit and for a while there was nobody about. What hit me most was losing Ronnie when she pursued her calling to be an ambulance driver. She’s qualified now as a paramedic. I’m made up that she’s achieved her ambition, but it was like losing my right arm. I’d always done the cooking while Ronnie handled the baking.
“I remember being here one Sunday and went over to see Judy (Middlemiss) who is involved with running the mart, in tears because I couldn’t put any cakes on sale. Judy was great. She taught me how to bake.”
Pateley Bridge is a honey pot rural town with quaint shops, the River Nidd flowing through, a bridge and beautiful parkland either side. The mart is on the Greenhow side, just before the hill. Sam knew she had to attract more business to her side of the bridge and her love of motorsports has been a key driver.
“Cars have always been a passion. I still have an Escort Mk1 rally car fully prepared but since I started Teacups I don’t get chance to use it. When we were looking for more business I approached motor clubs and motorsport enthusiasts, with the support of the mart and local farmers and landowners, to host events here. We now run three big rallies a year and it brings in lots more people. We host the likes of Airedale & Pennine Motor Club, Ilkley Motor Club and the Northern Honda Goldwing Club.”
So where do the dog fan club and upside down pictures come in?
“Bow is a border collie and the customers have taken to her. We have Frank, who sits alongside her and she just puts her head on his knee and they are together for an hour or so each day. As for the pictures, when customers tell me one of them is upside down I ask which one. I tell them I have to look at them every day so I just move them around. It raises a smile.”
Sam believes in honest prices.
“Tea and coffee will always be just 50p here. There’s no reason for it to be more.”