Hollys Coffee Co, sits in the heart of Ballynahinch Main Street Co. Down, offering a cosy and delicious break away from the city.
This interview took place over a year ago - before the pandemic forced all hospitality into closure.
During the first lockdown, Hollys was one of many local coffee spots that had to close its doors. Co-owner Janice and the Hollys team were able to re-open under restrictions once lockdown was phased out and have been navigating and adapting their way through unprecedented times. Since re-opening, Hollys are now well settled into the “new normal” way of trading.
Since being able to trade again, albeit, not as they were able to before, the Hollys team have felt now more than ever- how much their little spot in the heart of Ballynahinch means to of their community. It is not only the amazing bakes and coffees that the Hollys team have been providing during these months of uncertainty and lockdown- but a hint of normalcy and community spirit that has been so needed this past year.
Opening its doors in 2015, Hollys has become a wonderful addition to the fabric of Ballynahinch. Co-owner Janice, and the Hollys team know all the locals who stop by the café daily, which provides a warm and inviting atmosphere for new visitors too. On the afternoon we visited Hollys for this Beyond Bailies segment (back in February 2020) Janice sat down beside us, coffee in hand, whilst we lusted after, and sampled some of the delicious treats and coffees the Hollys team so kindly offered to us.
Encased in various glass domes and cake stands in Hollys you will see every temptation such as decadent Victoria sponges with buttercream icing and the popular favourite (unbeknownst to us at the time how popular it would become in 2020) Banana Bread, which are always surrounded by an array of classic favourites; stacks of salted caramel brownies, scones and German biscuits all placed on decorative slates. It is safe to say, it took us a while to decide what to have- it all looked too good!
How did you first get into baking?
“Baking for me started as a hobby- and I really enjoy it! At Hollys, Ashleigh is my right-hand woman when it comes to the baking and we love to have fun with it. We are also fortunate in the freedom we have to mix things up. We love to have that freedom, otherwise, it can become less enjoyable to constantly bake the same thing every day. It’s always good to try something new.”
Whilst baking is a clear passion at Hollys, so too is coffee and the community it helps to build here in Ballynahinch. Many in Ballynahinch and further afield spend time here at Hollys; reading the paper, catching up with friends, or just taking some time for themselves whilst enjoying the wonderful food, cakes and of course the coffee on offer.
It’s clear that you’ve created a truly lovely space here in your town, and within your community- how important is this to you?
“It’s so important to us here at Hollys to be a part of our community and we feel so fortunate to be able to provide a safe space in our little town for people to meet up and chat. It is so nice that some of our customers know each other simply from coming into Hollys every day. A space such as what we have here at Hollys creates that opportunity for people to interact whilst enjoying a coffee and some food.
What has pushed your passion for coffee over the years, and what does it mean to you to be a part of the coffee community here in Northern Ireland?
“We visited Florence, Italy some time ago, and visited to the La Marzocco factory. To see and hear firsthand the story of how they started and the passion they have for their craft and their brand was inspiring. It created even more of an incentive for us to honour their passion and craft by ensuring we’re looking after our machine to the best of our ability so that we can then also represent the coffee producers and farmers, and the roasters of course by making the best coffees too.”
“I like to make the effort to go to coffee events when I can, the likes of London Coffee Festival etc. I think it’s such a great thing to go and connect to other coffee people and be an active part of coffee community here.”
Why did you decide to choose Bailies to work with as your key roaster?
“I guess, similar to my previous answer, being a part of the coffee scene here, we like working with Bailies as we feel a part of a community. Help is there if we need it with the Bailies engineers and trainers, and of course the quality of the coffee we receive just makes it even better!
The team here at Hollys seem like a very close-knit group. How important is that to you?
We are nothing without our Hollys team. They've been with us from day one! We have truly been so lucky to have a team of individuals who have grown with us, and they are all so incredibly talented at what they do.
Hollys Coffee are currently open 7 days a week until 3pm each day. Please make sure to follow Coronavirus guidelines when visiting, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer.