Five years ago this month, CIDO welcomed café Unch to the Innovation Centre and they have been looking after our catering needs ever since. As well as tending to the catering needs of businesses at the Innovation Centre, neighbouring businesses and outside visitors by serving up cooked breakfasts, hot and cold lunches, teas, coffees and tray bakes, Unch also cater for all the functions at the Innovation Centre, serving up platters of delicious sandwiches, scones and a range of hot foods. CIDO also turn to Unch each August to cater for our summer BBQ and they never fail to impress.
Although marking their five year milestone at CIDO, it’s 12 years since husband and wife team, Jo and Noel Gillespie took the brave decision to set up their own business and Café Unch first opened its doors in Portadown Town Centre. Since then, not only have they expanded by taking on more staff and opening a kiosk at CIDO but their outside catering business has gone from strength to strength.
Motivated by having more time to spend with family, Jo and Noel had always talked about running their own business. Jo warns that starting your own business is not something to be taken lightly. “There is a lot of hard work involved, and then there’s the financial challenges. Nonetheless it’s hugely rewarding” Jo continues “ It’s great to be part of the local community and you get to meet so many interesting people.”
We asked Jo and Noel what they thought was the key to their success. “We haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel” Jo tells us, “We just focus on providing good service and providing good quality food, using locally sourced produce, all prepared fresh each morning.” Of course, Jo and Noel are quick to acknowledge that Unch is a team effort and attribute much of Unch’s success to their dedicated team of staff. Team members Arlene and Silvia are based at CIDO Innovation Centre and the team is headed up by Tanya Ward.
We asked Jo how Unch have found their five years based at the Innovation Centre. “CIDO has been a wonderful location for us. We have found the staff to be friendly and supportive and we’ve been introduced to a wealth of new customers. In fact we continue to get new customers through the doors every week which is great to see.”
Looking forward to the future Jo tells us “we will hopefully keep doing what we’re doing and of course we’re always looking at new ways to improve our service.”
Congratulations Unch on reaching this milestone. It’s not an easy time for small businesses. We wish you continued success and who knows what the next five years will hold.
Café Unch are based at 31-33 High Street, Portadown and CIDO innovation Centre, 77 Charlestown Road, Craigavon.