Irrespective of how many shops, restaurants or bars any village may have, an excellent local coffee shop will always be deemed an essential feature for locals. In Cheadle Hulme’s case, SK Eight ticks all of the boxes, with the welcoming establishment serving a range of drinks and delicious food.
Cheadle Hulme is often acknowledged as a warm and welcoming village, with SK Eight adopting this philosophy as part of their everyday practice. It’s often the case that similar establishments choose to focus on one specific clientele, yet SK Eight caters for a wide range of visitors, as explained by General Manager Carolyn Gaunt.
“SK Eight is a community-based coffee shop, who always try and support local providers. We’re dog-friendly, people-friendly and we enjoy welcoming everybody who decides to visit.”
With the popularity of coffee increasing significantly in recent years, a breadth of coffee shops has opened, not only in Cheadle Hulme but in the neighbouring areas of Cheadle and Bramhall. Amongst these establishments, market giants such as Costa Coffee have set camp, rivalling comparatively smaller businesses for custom. This prompts the question: What makes SK Eight stand out amongst the competition?
“Of course, we’re aware of the competition from other coffee shops, but here at SK Eight, we genuinely believe we offer a superior service for our customers.
“For instance, we try to use locally sourced products wherever we can, we’re child-friendly and have a play area to keep youngsters entertained. We’re also dog-friendly, something that a lot of our customers like because there aren’t many cafes that allow dogs inside.”
A recent visitor praised the SK Eight team for providing, “coffee with a conscience.” As well as their growing legion of coffee enthusiasts, staff also reap the benefits of the cafe’s fantastic ethos and are paid a living wage, as opposed to the minimum wage which is often in place at rival coffee establishments.
Community is at the forefront of SK Eight’s mind; each member of staff strives to provide outstanding service to ensure that the customer experience is memorable. Such as the high standards throughout the team that the cafe continues to attract a broad clientele, keen to sample the food available, as well as fresh tea and coffee. The food is freshly prepared and is made to order, with no pre-packaged sandwiches or wraps available.
While social media and marketing campaigns can drive custom for a business, it’s often regarded that word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising. Since opening, SK Eight’s reputation has blossomed and the company has gone from strength to strength.
“When we first opened, we were viewed as the inside cafe for Equity. However, the word’s since got out into the local area and we’re experiencing a huge increase in custom.
“Local businesses and locals come in; we’re open during the weekend when a lot of people visit whilst walking their dogs after hearing that we’re pet-friendly. We also have a lot of Mother’s from the group at the church who come lunch; we’ve transformed from ‘the Equity cafe’, to ‘SK Eight: A cafe for everyone’ and that’s so exciting to be a part of.”
A specific type of clientele can often be associated with a particular bar or cafe, but SK Eight continues to buck the trend with its widespread appeal. In the morning, it’s not unusual to see Mothers with their young children, during lunchtime local businesses head in to buy a tasty meal deal, while later in the afternoon, older clientele and families enjoy the quiet surroundings.
SK Eight has experienced a period of monumental growth and success since opening, consolidating its reputation as one of the most popular hangout spots in Cheadle Hulme. Much has changed during the journey thus far, but how does Carolyn Gaunt envision the company developing even further?
“We’d love to look at our external catering options; we’ve done a few projects here and there, alongside internal catering for Equity, so it’d be great to develop that side of the business. We’ve also taken on new coffee suppliers, Worker Bee Coffee – a company based in Edgeley.”
With Christmas around the corner, SK Eight will be joining the festivities, holding markets in the coffee shop on Fri 6 Dec and Sat 7 Dec and a Magical Christmas Workshop further demonstrating their ardent support for homegrown businesses.
Moreover, SK Eight will also be partaking in the Shoebox Appeal. Last year, over 100 shoeboxes were filled and Carolyn and the team are aiming to fill 200 this year in their bid to bring Christmas cheer to those less fortunate.
A gem in the heart of Cheadle Hulme, SK Eight continues to serve up stunning treats and would be delighted to welcome more members to their ever-growing fanbase.