Meet the Stilton mum who says redundancy gave her the chance to refresh her work life by opening a coffee kiosk

A Stilton woman who once worked as a pig farmer before going into an office career is using redundancy to be her own boss by opening a coffee and food kiosk.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 2:17 pm
Alison O'Malley is to open Ali's Coffee Box in Stilton.

Alison O’Malley (53) has spent the last 17 years behind a desk at insurance giant, The BGL Group, firstly in customer services and then as a systems analyst.

But Alison says she has really always wanted to work for herself.

A recent round of redundancies at BGL gave the mum-of-four the opportunity to pursue her dream.

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Alison O'Malley is to open Ali's Coffee Box in Stilton.

Now she is about to open Ali’s Coffee Box in an eight feet by eight feet space at the archway near the S Bar in High Street, Stilton.

Alison, who in her earlier years went to Sawtry agricultural college before becoming a pig farmer in Orton Waterville, said: “Using funds from my redundancy, I have invested about £14,000 to set up the kiosk, which will open on August 7.

“BGL has also contributed £600 to the business.”

Construction work on the kiosk is to start on July 20 and Alison is undergoing training to be a barista.

She said: “I always thought I’d be at BGL until I retired. But redundancy gave me an opportunity to do something for myself rather than having a boss.

“I’m a people person and never wanted to be a computer nerd.

“I am a little bit nervous but I am also looking forward to it - it is something completely different for me.

Alison, who has lived in Stilton for 25 years, said her family and friends had been brilliantly supportive in her new venture.

She said: “It has to work - I won’t let it fail.”

Alison vows that her prices will be reasonable as she ‘wants customers to come back’.

The menu is sorted and as well as quality coffee, teas and soft drinks will feature locally sourced bacon rolls, croissants and jam, crumpets, jacket potatoes, paninis - full of Stilton cheese - plus cakes, brownies and sausage rolls from a supplier in Conington.

Her opening hours will be 8.30am to 4pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and she hopes to attract custom from people working at home in the village, dog walkers and ramblers.