COLUMN: ‘The Crooked Spire is the focal point of the town’

Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards 2016 held at Chesterfield College and hosted by Mich Turner.
Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards 2016 held at Chesterfield College and hosted by Mich Turner.

I am Claire Wood and I own Stephenson’s Tea and Coffee House based in Chesterfield.

I purchased Stephenson’s Tea and Coffee House and opened in September 2014.

In July 2016, I expanded the business and opened The Spire by Stephenson’s at 3 StMarys Gate.

The vast majority of the food on the menu is baked on the premises by the Stephenson’s/Spire team and, where possible, ingredients and drinks are sourced from local independent producers and businesses.

I now employ 14 people, including two apprentices via Learning Unlimited at Chesterfield College.

We are also proud recipients of Best Tea and Coffee Shop in Chesterfield 2014 and 2016, and Best Customer Service 2015, as well as several other awards.

1. What’s your best memory of the town?

I was born in and, other than when at University, have always lived in Chesterfield. I have very fond memories of hours spent in Queen’s Park as a child and the smell of Trebor Sweets factory when driving past, trying to guess what was being made that day.

2. What development do you think will make the biggest difference to the town?

The St Helena’s Campus programme will enhance the opportunities available to many school leavers within the surrounding areas of the town.

Also, the Chesterfield Waterside and Elder Way projects will provide increased opportunities for visitors.

3. How would you describe Chesterfield to someone who has never visited?

Chesterfield is a vibrant market town, steeped in history, and with a diverse range of places and landmarks to visit.

The Church of St Mary and All Saints, and its famed crooked spire, provides the focal point of the town.

4. What are the positives of running a business here?

As Chesterfield grows, and more and more people visit both the town and surrounding areas, additional opportunities are provided for small independent businesses like Stephenson’s Tea and Coffee House to continue to grow and become even more successful.

5. Who or what do you turn to in Chesterfield for business advice?

I am incredibly fortunate to have a wealth of support from immediate family and close friends. I also love working with Sam, my son – we make a great team.

6. Why did you choose to base your business in Chesterfield?

The introduction of Afternoon Teas, a license to sell alcohol, expanding by opening The Spire by Stephenson’s and many other ideas we have for the future make Chesterfield an ideal town to have run and develop a business.

7. Who do you admire in the community?

I admire the work carried out by the clergy at St Mary and All Saints Church.

I also admire all the incredibly dedicated volunteers who are led very effectively by the Reverend Patrick Coleman.