Cafe owner in wonderland with large expansion plan

Jo Thomas is making a success of Alice's Tea Rooms in St Annes
Jo Thomas is making a success of Alice's Tea Rooms in St Annes

A Fylde cafe is set to double in size after proving a practically instant success.

Alice’s Tea Room in St Annes has rapidly attracted customers galore and glowing online reviews since opening last May – so much so that proprietor Jo Thomas has been eager to expand to avoid having to turn people away.

Jo Thomas is making a success of Alice's Tea Rooms in St Annes

Jo Thomas is making a success of Alice's Tea Rooms in St Annes

The answer to her quandary came when the shop next door in St Albans Road became vacant – and Jo hopes an extension into the former cobbler’s, with business continuing as normal in the meantime, will be completed within the next two months.

The growth of the cafe with an Alice in Wonderland theme will increase the number of covers from 20 to around 35, with the additional introduction of an ice-cream counter.

Its growth will also coincide with the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale and Jo said: “We have been amazed and delighted as just how busy we have been since we opened.

“I had always wanted to open a cafe and loved the idea of an Alice theme and it certainly captured the public imnagination.

“We spread the word initially through social media, there were lots of good reviews on internet sites and we regularly have people coming to visit us from miles away.

“It is heartbreaking when we have to tell people we are full so when the shop next door came vacant, we thought it was the ideal opportunity to extend. As well as extra seating it will give us greater scope parties, which are already very popular.”

Jo, who was a nursery manager in Ansdell for 10 years before opening the cafe, currently employs a full-time baker and a waitress, along with her daughter Abbie at weekends, and expects to have to take on at least one extra member of staff when the extension is complete.

The cafe is open six days a week, closed only on Mondays, and its success has delighted St Annes Chamber of Trade.

Chairman John Moxham said: “It is good to see Alice’s doing so well and great to heart of the plans to extend the premises.”