See inside new Front Parlour coffee shop as it transforms Sunderland period property
A new coffee shop is brewing up some old school glamour on one of Sunderland’s busiest roads.
The Front Parlour is passed by thousands of drivers and passersby each day at its location on Grange Terrace. Now, they have somewhere to stop for a cuppa and a slice of cake in rich surroundings that make the most of the old town house’s period features.
The new coffee shop is the brainchild of Paula and Fiona Vipond, who are well-known for their Park Grange Advanced Skin Clinic, which has been running for decades, and was previously at Park Grange before moving to Grange Terrace.
While the beauty side of the business is still operating on the upper floors of the building, offering everything from hypnotherapy and reiki to facials and laser hair removal, The Front Parlour is breathing new life into the ground floor, which also houses a gift shop.
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Paula, who’s been in business in Sunderland for 30 years, said: “We used to rent out the downstairs of the building and it’s had a number of tenants over the years, particularly hairdressers including Jonathan Pickup and, most recently, Black Door Hairdressing.
"A lot of businesses have used the rooms, started small, and then moved on to bigger premises. When the pandemic hit, I was left wondering what to do, and decided to just go for it and try something new with the coffee shop.”
The menu offers Green Farm coffee, specialist teas, scones, cakes, including vegan and gluten-free options, as well as savoury snacks, and it’s proving popular with existing customers to the building, as well as new faces.
"We already have a lot of people coming in and out of the building for hypnotherapy and other treatments, and they like being able to sit and have a cup of coffee while they’re here,” explained Paula. “But certainly since the sign’s been up, it’s been getting attention from new customers who seem to really like the space and how the team has dressed it.
"There’s not that many coffee shops in the Ashbrooke area, so I think people like having something like this on their doorstep.”
The new addition has created one new job, with manager Emma Duncan behind the counter, but more may arise should demand be there.
Moving forward, it’s hoped to use the space for groups such as book clubs and mindfulness workshops.
*The Front Parlour, Grange Terrace, is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm for sit in or take out. Free wifi is also available.