No one could have been in any doubt as to the success of the launch of 'Alison's Tapas Bar' last night.
'Oh, What a Night' I hear you shout, as we all break into those nostalgic and well-known lyrics.
A celebration of 20 years in local business, together with the launch of a new chapter in the life of Alison Pritchard ... there was barely a dry eye in Jupiter House!
Alison, Ron, Jess, Kelly, and a much-loved and loyal team, treated us to quite the most special of nights with lots of bubbly, beer, gin and mouth-watering tapas.
As Alison's business has evolved, she looked back with nostalgia, thanks and appreciation at the help she has received throughout periods of immense challenge in her life.
We giggled, we laughed, we reflected and yet we appreciated the enormity of the challenges that Alison has faced to achieve the esteem in which she is held by our community.
Alison was one of the original 'ice cream girls' at the Ice Cream Farm and her rise to manager and then owner of the Ice Cream Farm Coffee Shop was a steep learning curve. Following college, and, with the support of her parents and particularly 'The Bank of Dad' (how many of us can empathise with that), Alison was able to fulfil her dreams and ownership of her first coffee shop at the Ice Cream Farm.
Ownership and business naivety combined to create some enormous challenges, however, not least when foot and mouth struck Cheshire and when the Farm had to close to outside footfall – the coffee shop was the first casualty. To recuperate his own losses, Tom Fell bought the coffee shop back from Alison, and Alison with huge debts and two young daughters to support, started to bake from home, build up a client base, clear her debts, and show determination beyond her years.
Family is everything to Alison, her friends are loyal and numerous, the support she has received is immeasurable and yet, the belief of Bolesworth Estate, of Matthew Morris and others in her (with or without a recognised business plan), has been unwavering and she is indebted to them.
The Jupiter House we know and love today has changed beyond imagination. It would be fair to say that it has evolved, as has Alison.
Alison's daughter Jess, a confident and wholly charismatic young woman, whilst acknowledging that we were all there to celebrate the launch of The Tapas Bar, brought us back to reality with a reminder that we were actually there to celebrate 'Alison'.
She reminded us all of the debt that Tattenhall owes to Alison in bringing vibrancy and vitality to our High Street. Jess, together with her sister Kelly, laughed and cried at their shared childhood memories, driven by a mother who rose (and continues to rise) at 4am and who had each of them (as young children) working on the conveyor belt that was the 'Christmas Mince Pie Machine'! It was a sketch straight out of Roald Dahl!
The thanks were too many to mention but all were from the heart and particularly to Ron, who in the last few years has been a rock (literally, he has encouraged Alison to pursue rock climbing no less).
To Alison (on what was her birthday) we wish you huge success and we remind everyone to get down to Jupiter House for Drinks and Tapas on Thursdays and Fridays (between 4pm-10pm) – how can you resist!
(Click on each image to enlarge – top image left to right – Kelly, Alison, Ron and Jess; and lower image left to right – Hannah, Alison, Tara, Craig, Karen)