West Country coffee business offers chance to young entrepreneurs

West Country Higgler Laurence Norman

West Country Higgler Laurence Norman

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

A QUIRKY pop-up coffee stall is set to give budding young entrepreneurs in West Dorset the chance to brew up a business.

Laurence Norman, 21, set up The West Country Higgler last summer, trading predominantly from Bridport market, selling south-west-based fine teas and artisan coffees.

He quickly established a local following as well as introducing his range to the visitors who come to Bridport to enjoy local food opportunities.

Starting with four teas and one blend of coffee, he now offers 26 types of tea and six blends of coffee with the list growing weekly,.

All are produced or ethically sourced within the West Country.

Former Sir John Colfox pupil Laurence said: “A higgler is an old word for a pedlar, packman or purveyor of fanciful items and unnecessary trifles.”

The West Country Higgler grew so rapidly that it was soon realised that a bigger, bolder vehicle was needed to transport stock and attend grass events and festivals, and the distinctive and eccentric 1981 Landrover series 3 was bought.

The 35-year-old vehicle is some 14 years older than Laurence and helps do the job in all weather and terrain, as well as adding a bit of fun to the market.

Laurence’s fascination with tea and coffee sprang from his training in large hotels after leaving college here in Bridport at the Bridport Food and Land Trust. He went on to study wine and beverage under one of the country’s leading sommeliers before returning to Bridport to set up his own business.

From the start The Higgler has been designed as a free franchise business for youngsters to set themselves up with guidance from him and other mentors.

Laurence said: “The idea is that we give the vehicle, or something similar, to someone and guide and mentor them. They would operate under the name and be tied to us, but it would be their business.

“It would be ideal if it encouraged people aged under 25 to get involved.

“You can’t learn about business at school, you have to get out there.”

Laurence added: “We’ve got a great looking year ahead with some big events across the South West and some great local events too, even a new local music festival.”

The West Country Higgler can be found on Facebook by searching facebook.com/Thewest CountryHiggler or can be contacted on 07502222837. Laurence is looking forward to a busy spring and summer of events both local and far afield as well as his twice-weekly appearance on Bridport Market.

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