The Lewes District and Eastbourne has an amazing choice of local independent places to eat and drink. For this edition of ‘Spotlight’ we asked Lucy Hancock, owner of The Art House in Eastbourne, a few questions to give us some insight into her business:
Tell us about your business and what do you sell?
The Art House is a creative cafe in the heart of Eastbourne founded in 2016. As well as our renowned locally ground coffee’s, we provide freshly cooked lunches and a large salad bar. For treats we offer a broad selection of cakes, including vegan and gluten intolerant options.
Our creative activities, for both adults and children, are available all day as well as a regularly changing menu of classes and holiday workshops. In the evening, we open for specific events for adults including our insanely popular gin and tapas nights. In addition, we arrange themed children’s birthday parties and often host hen parties and the like for adults.
What are your company values and goals?
At the heart of the business is our community, whom we value immensely, and our goal is to do whatever we are able to help our community spirit.
To this end, we created The Art House Foundation to provide free or low-cost activities for children during term time. We also started the first “Eastbourne Food & Arts Festival” in 2019, which we hope to do again when restrictions allow.
In October 2020 we took part in Marcus Rashford’s free school lunch holiday scheme, where we were able to offer over 300 free packed lunches. This done with the support of our customers and the wider community. Our commitment for the start of 2021 has been to provide free staff lunches to our local hospital for the ICU team every Friday and Saturday lunch along with cooking 50 hot meals for the local charity “Warming Up the Homeless” to distribute to our homeless community on a Saturday night in Eastbourne.
How has your business adapted to cope with the public health restrictions, and how are you currently operating?
Since the first lockdown we have been closed for around 4 weeks as we reopened from April to offer a delivery service on Friday’s which we extended to offer VE day, Father’s Day and other occasions where our afternoon tea service could be enjoyed by many unable to leave their homes. When we re-opened in April, we made the decision to follow other countries and ensured all staff wore masks and gloves – long before it became the law in October. Our tables are spaced 2 metres apart to allow for social distancing and we have a rigorous cleaning and air flow routing that we follow to keep everyone as safe as possible.
We have extended our offerings to those at home to include “pottery sale/auction nights on zoom”, “Paint@Home pottery kits”, as well as a range of creative classes we will continue to expand on zoom – details of which we announce on Facebook.
Why should consumers buy local?
We hope that consumers value our local community as much as we do and that buying local is a natural inclination. After this terrible time we have all been through, it would be marvellous if Eastbourne emerges stronger with pride in how we got through this together. We offer a unique venue and try our very best to make it the best quality of any similar place in the whole of the UK – why wouldn’t consumers want to get the best that is on their doorstep?
For more information on The Art House, visit Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/TheArtHouseEastbourne, Instagram here