Popular Bristol harbourside cafe owner speaks out amid sale fears

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The owner says she wants to protect the future of the long-running business

The owner of one of the best-known cafes in Bristol has had her say amid fears the iconic business could be sold.     

Kay Leach, who has run Brunel’s Buttery with her husband for nine years, wants to clarify that no sale has been agreed for the business known for its bacon sandwiches.     

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BristolWorld reported this week that the cafe and takeaway, which opened on Wapping Wharf in the Harbourside more than 40 years ago, had been put on market.    

But Leach now wants to make it clear that they are only looking at options to “protect Brunel’s Buttery and for it to stay as iconic and individual as it is”.       

Her husband is 79, she has had major health problems and their lease is now up for renewal.  

“Mentally and physically it's exhausting, and we can’t put into the business what it deserves and continue,” she told BristolWorld.           

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“If we headed on without looking at options, that would make the business less viable and that makes it vulnerable.”  

Brunel's Buttery has been open since the 1980sBrunel's Buttery has been open since the 1980s
Brunel's Buttery has been open since the 1980s

Leach said if they do have to sell, the name Brunel's Buttery will be part of the contract and will not change.        

She added: “I am adamant we will not sell to a huge conglomerate or a person who will change the fabric as it’s our gem and not something we would consider at all.     

“I don’t want to sell to anybody that doesn’t support our ethos and that might take us 20 years to find somebody who’s suitable.

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“We want to know that they’re going to keep the business as it is - it’s got to be affordable, where everybody will come.”     

Leach’s daughter works alongside her at the Buttery, which has seven staff altogether. She bought the premises with her husband Ray in 2015 after he retired from a roofing business.     

“We love it, we will miss it. It makes him have a passion for business and he wouldn’t do anything to spoil its reputation.    

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“We have people come every single day and say how much they love it.  

“If we can’t continue, it will go to rack and ruin; if we do move to do something about it, it will be for the protection of the organisation, we don’t want it not to be there.”    

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