Paddy Mc, from the popular Hatter Tea Room in Stranorlar and the Hatter Express in Ballybofey is some man for one man, but then again behind every man is a wonderful woman and that’s his wife Shelley.
Paddy, a native of West Tyrone has made Ballybofey his home since 2000, after spending a few years in London in the bar trade.
Many different career paths followed but mainly sales related and the public facing role was something which came naturally. Married to Shelley and they have three children. He just knew that somehow he needed to run his own business. Of course it had to involve dealing directly with the public so Paddy worked out a plan of how they could bring the coffee culture which was flourishing in the large cities and towns around the country to the Twin Towns.
So with Shelley’s financial experience and level head they plotted The Hatter Tea Room and how it would become part of the fabric of the hospitality offering in an already high standard and crowded hospitality driven area. This was 2014 and Ireland was just starting to see a slight recovery, so a with a firm plan The Hatter was born. At its heart, simplicity and quality was paramount, throw in a little madness, hence the name and a desire to serve the best coffee around, the team was built and off they went.
Within a few months of opening, it became clear that coffee was going to be the main driver for the business so, Paddy got online and looked for coffee courses to hone his skills. Online courses are fine but hands on training is for sure that way to go, however, at that time the only availability of courses for Barista training was held in Belfast or Dublin. Paddy headed to Dublin with another idea in his head for another string to the bow.
Then came another idea the opportunity to lease another smaller location came up, a smaller more compact store with the capability of delivering coffee and treats a lot faster and only as a takeaway business, the Hatter Express in Main Street, Ballybofey. This has become a destination in the town for great coffee, perfect treats and the kind of banter and service you would usually expect to get in a public house. The social inclusion has always been part of the ethos of The Hatter family and this only adds to its reputation further.
‘The brand that is the Hatter in its many guises has become well known locally and further afield and when someone mentions The Hatter, usually the first thought is coffee and how good it is. However, when Paddy and Shelley we got to sample the coffee it was a no brainer, on top of that it was branded just for us.
In just 2 years we have grown to supply over 40 premises in Derry, Tyrone and Donegal with amazing feedback from the owners and in turn their customers too. The coffee also has a retail arm which means that we supply local independents and chains with our bags of coffee. Locally one of the best performing stores is the fantastic Kavanaghs Super Valu in Ballybofey, where Hatter Coffee is one of their bestselling brands’ he said.
Recently because of the outbreak of Covid 19, the online part of the business which has taken off as people still want great coffee to enjoy when they can’t get their usual fix from the shops.
So with that all taking care of itself it’s time to think about re-opening fully, at the minute The Hatter Tearoom is open on a Friday and Saturday as a Takeaway only. The hope would be to extend those days as more and more people start to mobilise and get back to work again. However as they plan to reopen, there is so many unknowns as to what to do to ensure customers safety and of of course the team too. The raft of new guidelines and procedures will mean a massive change to how we do business, but the one thing we can be sure of is that the quality and excellent service our loyal customers enjoyed before will still be a massive part of what we do.
Hatter Coffee has recently started spreading its wings, to Jungle King in Derry, over to Tyrone, the very historic and quaint Grays Coffee Shop in Strabane, from there in to the Glens and the beautiful Auld Bank Coffee Shop in Gortin then a drive up the road to Omagh and you will find in Fit2Snack a place for not only great coffee but healthy snacks too. Check out their website hattercoffee.com
Continued success Paddy, you definitely woke up and smelled the coffee!