Jackie Jones runs Chappies, the Café at the Aldershot Enterprise Centre which provides a wide range of dishes for the tenants and local businesses. She started the business when based at Mandora house and thanks to the support from the Aldershot Enterprise Centre team and the community within the centre, she hasn’t looked back since.
Starting in a burger van at the back of a local pub, Jackie was keen to get a more permanent location for her business when a friend suggested the centre. Once she moved in, the business just grew and grew. As Jackie says:
“The success I’ve had with the Aldershot Enterprise Centre has meant that I have been able to take my business to the next level. I am now doing 1 or 2 corporate events a month. And the business expansion has meant I have been able to recently take on an apprentice.”
Moving with the centre
When Jackie knew the centre was moving, she didn’t hesitate to move with it as she knew the central Aldershot location would help her:
“Moving to Victoria Road has helped my footfall as it’s in a much better location. As well as the tenants, I get customers from the nearby industrial estate and the high street.”
The Aldershot Community
Jackie was a little worried that the community feel that she found at Mandora house would be lost when they moved to a more modern building, but she hasn’t found that is the case:
“I love the community feel of the Aldershot Enterprise Centre. I was worried about losing that feeling as we moved, thinking it was the building – but it isn’t – it’s the team and the camaraderie of the tenants that create the feeling.”
She puts a lot of this down to the support she receives from the Centre Management Team:
“The management goes above & beyond to make sure all the tenants are happy!”
A generous offering
As well as providing a range of tasty snacks on her menu, ranging from English and American breakfasts, paninis, jacket potatoes, and dishes of the day such as chillies or curries, she provides free snacks for her canine customers. There are free dog treats and water in the ‘doggy café’ and well-behaved dogs are welcome.
Additionally, Jackie has been aware that many of her customers have been struggling in the current cost of living crisis and has started a ‘pay it forward’ campaign. As she explains:
“If anyone is feeling flush they can pay for an extra coffee or snack, put it on the post-it board in the cafe. Then, if someone is struggling to purchase a coffee because they are at the end of the month, they can choose one of the post-it notes and their treat will be free. The idea is, that they would pay it forward so that they can return the favour.”
Chappies has been so successful that Jackie has been able to expand to another location locally and her ultimate goal is to own her own restaurant. But she won’t be leaving the Aldershot Enterprise Centre anytime soon!
“I love the team here and the community feel of the centre, so I wouldn’t want to leave it!”
Jackie’s top tip for future entrepreneurs
Her philosophy on business success is simple:
“Stick to it! The first year is the hardest but if you can through that, you can take on the world!”