A boyhood dream of running a business together has finally come true for friends Patrick Clarke and Reiss Salustro-Pilson. The former schoolmates have joined forces to open a caffé in Canterbury, with their sights set on the ambitious target of becoming big-time entrepreneurs.
Reiss, 26, explained: “When we were kids, we often spoke of going into business together, then we went our separate ways for a while. Now, finally, we’ve done it!”
Patrick, 27, and Reiss have been friends since their earliest schooldays, growing up in Eastry, near Sandwich, and the prospect of working together was a regular topic of conversation between them when they were boys. After school, they each followed a separate career path, Patrick training as a chef and serving 12 years in the RAF, Reiss completing a business management degree from Canterbury Christ Church University, then working in executive recruitment and marketing.
When the lease on a property in Palace Street, Canterbury, came up the two men decided to try their hand at running a business.
Reiss explained: “It seemed the ideal opportunity. With Patrick’s skills as a chef and mine in marketing and entrepreneurship, we knew we could make a good go of it. The property is a fair size and manageable as our first business. We’ve been open about six weeks and it seems to be going well. We’ve had lots of support from customers and many people have returned, which is always a good sign.”
Regular customers from the King’s School opposite the caffé are encouraged by discounts for staff and students. A 10 per discount is also available for students and service personnel, on production of appropriate ID.
At the moment, Caffé 22 – so called because of the street number – serves just light snacks, from 9am till 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 9.30am till 4pm on Sundays. The lads take Wednesday off, to compensate for their long hours. On the menu are paninis, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, coffee, tea or milkshakes, with a selection of homemade cakes. An alcohol licence has been applied for and when it is in operation, probably by the beginning of June, Patrick plans to introduce themed nights such as tapas and Caribbean. These will be advertised on the already active social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram sites used by the two entrepreneurs.
Reiss is delighted at the success of the caffé so far and grateful to Stour Valley Estates for their friendly and welcoming approach, helping them to find the right property and easing the introduction into the world of business leasing. But he doesn’t want to stop there, adding: “Both Patrick and I are ambitious and want to make our mark. Who knows, we could be the next Costa or Starbucks!”
Caffé 22 has a website, (soon to be updated) which gives details of menu and opening times, or call 01227 479500.
You can also find Caffé 22 on Facebook.