One of Leyland’s most influential businessmen has closed his much-loved cafe, much to the dismay of the community.
Tom Booth has shown his support for the town as chair of the Leyland Business Group and the Town Team, which was formed last year to come up with ideas of improving the area.
But his own business venture, Bean Drinking on Hough Lane, is now closed for good.
Tom, who ran the cafe with his wife Zoe for more than two years, told the Guardian they decided to call it a day to spend more time as a family.
The dad-of-one said: “Business was actually good and I really liked being in Leyland.
“We live in the town ourselves and we put a lot into the business.
“We did as much as we possibly could for the town, getting involved with events like Leyland Live and Leyland Festival, but we were working seven days a week between us, and we need more family time.
“I’m employed with another coffee chain now and have a regular salary and holidays.
“I enjoyed being a businessman in Leyland, but I’m also a family man.”
The cafe opened in July 2010 and the couple threw themselves into supporting other local businesses through the produce they used, as well as backing town centre initiatives, such as last year’s Portas Pilot scheme.
They also showcased local artists’ work on the walls and allowed groups to use Bean Drinking as a base for meetings.
Over the years, Tom won a number of awards for his own coffee creations at national competitions, which customers have described as being the ‘best for miles around’.
But despite feeling it was time to call it a day himself, Tom believes the people of Leyland should continue to support independent companies in their hometown.
He said: “There are a lot of good, local businesses out there and every credit to the people behind them.
“It’s very hard work and demanding.
“I will miss being the chair of the Leyland Business Group and the Town Team, but I still hope Zoe and I can get involved in the community, such as the festival.
“The groups will continue to be as strong as ever; there are a lot of great people in Leyland.”
The pair announced the end of Bean Drinking on their Facebook page, writing: “We are sorry to tell you that indeed the rumours are true and Tom and Zoe will no longer be serving the good people of Leyland coffee. Bean Drinking is closed.”
The news was met with disappointment, with people saying ‘sorry to hear this’ and ‘you will be missed’.
Chair of the Leyland My Neighbourhood Forum, Coun Matthew Tomlinson, said: “Tom was also involved in the regeneration of Hough Lane, so I was very sad to hear he and Zoe had decided to close down.
“He said it was due to the amount of hours they were having to work, and they had not had a holiday for such a long time.
“I hope South Ribble Council can bring in someone just like him to be chairman of the town centre team.”