A NEW café that ‘brings something different’ to Dorchester town centre has opened its doors, creating 12 jobs - and already has plans to expand.

The independent Relax Coffee Lounge and Café opened its doors on December 17 within the former Animal and Intersports shops in Tudor Arcade.

Customers can either eat and drink within the café or takeaway, while businesses within a mile can have their lunch delivered for free.

The new business has repurposed two derelict stores and created 12 new jobs in the process at a time while town centre businesses are struggling with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dorset Echo: Relax Coffee Lounge and Cafe has opened its doors in Dorchester town centre. Picture: Kyle HienerRelax Coffee Lounge and Cafe has opened its doors in Dorchester town centre. Picture: Kyle Hiener

Manager Kyle Hiener revealed how its owners, Laura and Matthew Rowbotham, had eyed up the closed shops for some time and aimed to transform the closed store units into a thriving venue.

He said: “We have taken over the store units where Animal and Intersports were and knocked the wall through to create a large space and install cooking facilities.

“We wanted to have a café that brings something different to Dorchester and everything is ready to order and we bring the food and drink to you.

“We are trying to provide 100 per cent customer satisfaction.”

The café, which can seat up to 17 customers as per coronavirus guidelines, has been extremely busy since opening, as Mr Hiener stated there had been three to four days when the venue was full.

Dorset Echo: The cafe offers all-day breakfast. Picture: Kyle HienerThe cafe offers all-day breakfast. Picture: Kyle Hiener

Relax Coffee Lounge already proving a hit among residents and shoppers, with customers keen to support new independent businesses.

Mr Hiener explained the venue offers space for shoppers looking to wind down after shopping or to do their work in a calm setting.

He said: “It has been extremely promising. Everyone is loving it. Everyone loves the café and what we have done with it.

“Being someone who used to work in the pub industry, I am used to high turnover but not at a café like this.

“I just want to say thank you to all our customers for their support so far.”

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Mr Hiener added that if the cafe continues to be successful, it could expand into the upstairs area and create further jobs.

Relax Coffee Lounge and Café is also taking part a discount car park scheme where motorists paying for parking can receive a £1 voucher off their food and drink at the café.