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Why two Lincolnshire women opened a cafe after both losing their jobs...

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

  • Sweet success: Suzanne Harness, left, and Lynn Hiatt set up The Pantry cafe in Bracebridge Heath after they were made redundant. Pictures: John Jenkins

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In the midst of a depressing economic climate, where unemployment rates are still creeping up, more and more people are turning their hand to running their own business. Here, Mark Williams speaks to two women who prove just how rewarding life after redundancy can be...

When Lynn Hiatt and Suzanne Harness both lost their jobs within two months of each other, they could have joined the ever-expanding dole queues.

Instead, the pair decided to make the most of their experience running a restaurant in Turkey and opened a cafe in their home village of Bracebridge Heath, near Lincoln.

Lynn, 58, and Suzanne, 45, who had both worked in social services, opened The Pantry, in Grantham Road, in November 2011.

And despite the dire economic times, the ladies have forged a successful cafe loved by many in the village.

"It's all about keeping the place clean, tidy, creating a nice family atmosphere and, of course, cooking good food," said Ms Hiatt.

"Times are tough and we have the odd day when we struggle.

"But on the whole we can't complain. We love the place and people have given us so many lovely comments in our first year. We even received Christmas presents from customers.

"Suzanne and I met in social services in 1998. In 2001 we wanted to take a year out and decided to move to Turkey.

"We then made this spontaneous decision to manage a hotel and we ended up staying there a further six years and we had a fabulous time.

"We really developed business sense.

"But we are both Lincoln girls and we missed family and friends – all of whom live here – so we decided to come back.

"We returned to jobs in social services in the city. But like a lot of people in the country we were made redundant.

"I went to the Job Centre and I was made to feel like I was scrounging.

"I vowed not to do that again, made a gamble on the cafe, and the rest is history.

"We would advise others to do the same. Just because you are made redundant does not mean you are no good.

"You just have to come back stronger.

"Hopefully the cafe will go from strength to strength."

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