Traditional tea room brings new life to empty offices
PUBLISHED: 09:40 24 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:34 24 November 2019
A former market trader has brought a new concept to Felixstowe's 'Golden Mile' with his new tea room.
As well as serving tea, sandwiches and cakes Luke Rawson's new shop sells teapots, cups and other crockery.
He has opened The Lighthouse on the junction between Hamilton Road and Orwell Road having taken over a former solicitors' office which stood empty for many years. Further back it had been a shop, and was once a Burtons store.
The English bone china on sale comes direct from Mr Rawson's own factory in Stoke on Trent, the Milton Pottery.
The former market trader, who sold china products on his stall, explained: "You have got to evolve. Two years ago there was talk of buying the factory on Stoke on Trent. Now I own it, though there are two separate businesses."
The businessman opened his first shop in Orwell Road, Felixstowe, 20 months ago, and how has now decided to expand.
"The response has been good. It has been really busy, The concept seems to work and there is a nice, relaxed atmosphere," he added.
He will stocks seaside themed items he designed himself so people can enjoy a cup of tea and then take a slice of Felixstowe home with them.
High Street retail has been having a tough time recently but the independents of Felixstowe are fighting back, said Mr Rawson.
"There is a great community of independent traders in Felixstowe, they just need more support.
"I have a great landlord who wants to see the town centre thriving and buzzing again.
"It think this is important for the town."
Inside the tea rooms, Mr Rawson has built a lighthouse model inside and plans to add revolving lights on the top, a nod to Felixstowe's maritime heritage.
And he wants to open up the shop's first floor space by adding a staircase.
"It is absolutely beautiful up there," he said.
Shop manager Lisa Hayes is moving her own pre-loved and retro business, upcycled furniture and other unique items, into the basement area.