Littleport is a village that is not only the largest square mileage in England, but it must have the largest concentration of industrious and useful people too!
So many who run businesses offering goods and services of all kinds that it would take one of those old-fashioned directories to list and describe them all!
But we just have a little space in which to mention a couple or three for your interest. And to give a smidgeon of an idea of what contributes to the general busy activity that underpins Littleport’s village life day by day.
Here are 4, with another necessarily short feature to follow in our winter and subsequent issues of Littleport Life!
Erika’s Barber Shop is a shop with history in both its building in Main Street and its proprietor.
Erika Urboniene was trained by Littleport’s own David Houghton. When he retired, he passed the shop rental and his clientele to his by then qualified apprentice.
She has kept it going for the last 20 years in the same tradition – although Erika has continued to keep up to date with all the modern hair-cutting techniques and styles. Even studying and gaining qualification in beard trimming!
Not for the ladies of course who she also counts among her regular customers who come in for a good haircut or trim.
Then there are the many good building services offered by Littleport’s artisan craftsmen – like Adi Keating and his company R Keating and Sons.
A very local family run firm that has been established since 1976, Adi and his family, sons Thomas and Jamie, and dad Ralph along with Ryan Woodruffe, who for 15 years has been part of this team of experts, are dedicated to making homes dry and free of Rising Damp. They specialise in combating all forms of timber degradation, including dry and wet rot and woodworm, and they offer all forms of re-plastering and a decorating service. As Adi says, “We undertake all works in-house, no sub-contractors, so we can provide a trusted guarantee!”
And a spokesperson told Littleport Life, “Our team of professionals are highly skilled and fully qualified with a wealth of knowledge in the trade. We pride ourselves on our commitment to provide a professional and friendly service at all times, whilst maintaining the highest quality of work.
For more information please visit our website www.rkeatingandsons.com or visit us on Facebook @RKeatingandSons”
We also have many good eateries to cater for all tastes and Littleport Life’s roving reporter took time out to catch up with a couple of them. First visit was to Clare’s Kitchen based in Sharman’s Garden Centre in Camel Road.
Clare Thompson is the new proprietor of Clare’s Kitchen and she told Littleport Life, “We opened in October last year and listened to what people wanted to eat. We are on Facebook and we do get feedback. I was a mental health nurse for 10 years in Huntingdon in the community, then I left there and started this. I wanted to do something different and it was a challenge.
We do fry-ups in all weathers. We get our food products supplied from Thomas Ridley but we make our own cakes and pastries with the help with my other 3 staff members Kelly, Jamie and Zoe.
We are open every day 9 to 4 pm and Sunday 10 to 3 pm. We do roast dinners and breakfasts.
We do takeaways. We also cater for vegans and vegetarians.
We have regular customers. People do order and collect but we have just been approved to do outside catering because we have had requests for buffets.
Any food that is left over goes into Too Good To Go App that we have joined. We have been involved with that scheme for a couple of months.”
Clare and her eatery found themselves in The Telegraph newspaper one Saturday! It featured their Natter & Chatter table scheme which brings people together if they come into the cafe on their own. It helps people to become more sociable and not be so isolated.
For example, 97-year-old Bill who lives in Millfield was sitting at the signed Natter & Chatter table with his cuppa and cake actually oblivious of the small Chatter & Natter sign on his table! Our roving reporter Cathy happily sat down with him for a chat after her interview with Clare.
Clare’s Kitchen also has a thriving gift and pottery shop which is very popular and you can even purchase eco-friendly bags.
The second visit was to the Station Café on the corner of White Horse Lane and Station Road. It is now in new hands, and the proprietor Mateusz Mzurek, along with the help of Gosia Galant, and his sister Kasia, who takes time out from their other business Foodies in Cambridge, have already had fantastic feedback from their customers since opening at the end of May.
Like all new businesses they had to move with the times, and were fortunate to be given advice from the previous owner of Bijou, Dave Wong (of Wok This Way, Local Chinese takeaway fame) and a friend of Gosia, realised that the café needed a modern look, new ideas, providing good quality fast food which has already received rave notices including over 100 Facebook reviews.
“At 29 I am of the social media Facebook age where we promoted the business before we actually opened Station Café which seemed to do the trick,” said Mateusz, who has been in the catering business for 11 years having also worked for a Mexican restaurant, Chiquito in Cambridge,
“We wanted to add a twist to our meals for example instead of having the traditional toast to our full English Breakfast we thought we would make potato roll instead which everyone loves,” revealed Mateusz, who continued; “We also know that Habis make chunky chips, so we decided to make skinny chips!”
When Mateusz finishes at Station Café at 3pm, he’s off to Cambridge assisting his sister Kasia with their Cambridge business, but he would like to change his days off from Sundays to Mondays when the café eventually becomes more busier and he is able to then employ more staff.