thank you

Blimey. We felt we should post something else about this before the day is out. We’ve not really known how to respond to everyone, it’s been so incredibly overwhelming to see and hear everyones support, comments and advice on the matter. We figured the best thing to do was a blanket post and cover some concerns and questions that have been raised, whilst also thanking you all as a group. You made us trend in Manchester, ha. You wonderful people. For a second I thought my dress sense was finally paying dividends, but Lucy informs me crumpled shirts and coffee stained Vans will never be trendy.

Anyway, I’ll cover some things we’ve seen people raise…

The legal side. Unfortunately we can’t argue with the termination. It’s hard for us to talk about this too much, but it’s not a case of us signing something we didn't read properly, or them terminating illegally. We have representation, we have avenues that can be pursued, and thank you for the offer of help regarding this, but understandably we’d like to keep this side private until we’ve sorted everything on our side.

This takes us to our next point. There’s been a lot of calling for naming and shaming, but quite honestly that’s not what our post was about. We’re not in this to get ugly or start a war. We are extremely disappointed with some actions by some people, but it’s not as cut and dry as attacking anyone online. So now is not the time for that, not sure it helps anyone.

Another thing we’ve been asked is about crowd funding. We really appreciate everyone who's got in touch about this, the kindness of other can be unreal at times. It’s something we’ve definitely considered, and we are thinking strongly about. However, we’d really like to get a plan of action together before anything like this takes off. The most important thing for us is that people would be funding an actual project, something they can see their money go towards and interact with at a later date. Something we believe in, that others do too. We wouldn't want this to just be charity for some people struggling financially, because in that respect we know there will always be people worse off than us.

Finally we want to say that our initial post was always about two things - firstly letting everyone know our situation as way of an apology. We’ve been trying to open our shop for so long, we were embarrassed about what we saw as yet another failure. So hearing everyone's lovely comments means the world. Thank you. And secondly, we were hoping there would be someone out there who could maybe help, by way of premises, contacts or general advice. Again, it's been overwhelming. After this weekend we felt aimless, not really knowing what to focus on. You know the feeling - you can’t see the end so you don't know where to start. Now we have some leads, some meetings, but more importantly we know we have many, many friends out there willing to help. We can't thank you enough for that.

x

bad news...

We have an update on the shop. I’ve been struggling to find the right words for this post and it’s hard. Really hard. We’ve spent this last weekend pretty numb after receiving some heartbreaking news completely out of the blue, which has shocked, angered and confused us beyond belief. This may seem like too much information, waffling, or overly dramatic to some degree, but I’m just going to explain what’s happened as far as we know in hope I don't have to keep answering questions about this because to be honest, we're finding it really hard to talk about.

Last Monday, 3rd July, we were due to start slowly moving in to our new unit. For anyone that has followed our story you probably already know that we’ve been waiting for this day for about 15 months. For anyone that doesn’t, we first put a proposal in for this unit back in November 2015, and signed the agreement to lease in April 2016. We’ve done events and pop-ups along the way to keep us afloat whilst we waited for the unit to which we’d committed ourselves to be renovated. Delay after delay has meant 15 months of treading water, but finally the renovation was due to be finished this July. We’d worked really closely with the landlord and builders along to way to spec out the unit perfectly for what we wanted Idle Hands to be. This was to be our new, permanent home, one we’ve worked so hard to get to, and one we were so excited to grow in. We’ve spent everything we’ve saved along the way, and even worse, money we’ve borrowed. Tens of thousands of pounds, on making bespoke counters and shelving, and shelled out for applications towards the new unit and legal costs. We even had all our new kitchen equipment being delivered last Monday as the basement was completed. We were due to visit the site on the Friday before the delivery to double check everything was fine. The day before that visit is when everything started to unravel, when we received an email from the construction company telling us they’d been instructed to cancel the visit and we should contact our solicitors. Nothing more. Nothing less. An email like that, then they went dark.

We spent a whole week trying to find out what was going on. My solicitor hadn't been informed of anything, none of the construction team, nor the landlord’s solicitors would talk to us. The equipment was already en route so we had to take delivery of it still not knowing what was going on.

Then on Wednesday we received a letter from the landlords solicitors telling us they were terminating our lease…They told us the loophole clause they wished to use in order to terminate it, but nothing more. Again we were left completely in the dark. We tried to contact anyone and everyone to find out what was going on, and quickly made plans to remove the equipment we’ve already had delivered and stored. Finally late on Friday evening we managed to speak to someone involved in the construction team. He was quick to point out he was not involved in any of the legal dealings, but he had been briefed so could give me some information…

Basically the landlord (which we now know is also the owner of the construction company who have been working so closely with us this whole time, and who know how much we've invested and how committed we've been to it this last year and a half) had just decided he wanted it for himself. Our unit. The one we had signed for on April of last year and was only just now about to be completed. This late in the day they decided they wanted to use it for amenities for the flats being built above. His words were "a place for tenants to sit and drink”….like a coffee shop?

We’ve attempted to highlight to them not only how much money we have spent on this unit, and how much debt this could leave us in, but also the time and effort we’ve committed to them and our shop. How hard we’ve worked to stay afloat just in order to take this unit on. And on a personal note, Lucy is due to give birth in three months, the delays had already been bad enough, but we were relying on at least having a functioning business by then. But I don’t think any of this matters to them, and I’m not sure if we will ever hear from them again, so there doesn't seem to be any chance of them reconsidering. 

Like I said, we’d worked so closely with them this last year, we’d helped design the unit as it stands. They have all our plans for this shop. I already know if anything opens even slightly similar it will be absolutely heartbreaking. Unfortunately for us, it appears legally, they can just leave us out on the street, but we can't help feel like we've had the rug pulled out from under us. It feels like we’ve lost the last year of our lives. Or more like it’s been stolen. You may think we should’ve seen this coming, or we’ve jumped the gun in some respects, but I can honestly say we haven’t. I want to be careful not to air gory details incase of any legal ramifications, but all I’ll say is we have been told every step of the way that this was happening. We’ve had no reason to think otherwise. Up to the point of that delivery being agreed by all parties just a few days before this all happened.

 

The next step for us is to gather ourselves then make a plan. It’s hard to see outside this bubble right now, and we need to see if we can even come back from this at all. All we’ve ever wanted was our shop, and we’ve tried to remain positive this last year, so you can be sure we will throw everything we’ve got at trying to make sure Idle Hands continues in some capacity, but “everything we’ve got” has certainly taken a big hit this last week. We will continue to update with news as we have it, but apologies if we disappear for a while.

In the meantime, if any of you know of any empty properties in need of an Idle Hands, don't be shy about it ha.

six

Let's get ready to rubble...


Ahhh, It feels like only yesterday we ran our lease down at Station Approach to get ready to move in to our new permanent home... No it doesn't, not really, because THAT WAS NEARLY 12 MONTHS AGO.

Well apparently the landlord is on the verge of getting the go ahead to start knocking walls down and stuff. It's been a long time coming but maybe this is the start of the next chapter...?

We're still waiting on the green light and there's a few details that need ironing out, certain conditions to be met etc, but it's possible building could start next Monday...yeah you heard right, next Monday! What does this mean for us? Well of course it means we'll have to move out of our temporary space again so the building work can start, and the construction folk are estimating around a 5-6 weeks of work before we can start our fit out.

I have been reluctant to announce anything before getting definite answers, because it's possible work won't start on Monday and we've embarrassed ourselves before by assuming deadlines we'd been promised were actually real, but with the council in no rush to let us know I didn't want to risk us disappearing without giving people at least a little warning...

So before you ask we can't give a solid date for when our proper shop will be opening yet, sorry. And I've also seen enough grand designs to know that even when the building starts, nothing ever goes to plan (those windows never bloody fit). We will of course keep you all updated as work goes on. Maybe I'll go wild and start using instagram stories?

So anyway, this is very short notice but it's quite possible that our final working day here in the pop-up will be: Thursday 6th April


It could obviously be the same old story, and we get delayed once more and we're here for another week or so, but like I said, I didn't want to risk it.

We want to thank everyone who's supported us so far, we're not looking forward to disappearing again for a while, but we hope to open bigger and better, and finally be able to make a home. We'll continue to grow our relationships with roasters from around the world and of course have Lucy's cakes and pies decorating the counter.

So please come visit us here in our run-down, make-shift, shambles of a shop before we transform into the slickest operation since Disneyland invented sliced bread...Just kidding, SHAMBLES 4 LYF. But it would be nice to see some of you before our forced hiatus.

So until we've got some more news, just know that things are slowly starting to move. Here's hoping they pick up pace and we're back before you know it.

The reason we won't be open Friday is that we'd just booked a spur of the moment trip down to London Coffee Festival for the first time in a couple of years too, which even though poorly timed, we feel is worth sticking to. So maybe we'll see some of you down there, we'll be the ones who look excited, flustered and anxious all at the same time.

Idle Hands
x

five

WE'RE OPEN!


What the what now?! That's right, we're actually open again. Like serving coffee and cake and food stuffs and everything. I'll be honest, it's not the Bellagio or anything, it's more like a building site that's trying to make an effort because he's due in court...BUT WE'RE OPEN!

With the council pushing our planning permission back to the end of the year, we have set up temporarily right next to the unit we'll be moving in to at 32 Dale Street (next to Allotment bar, opposite Cyclefit). It's rough around the edges but it has...charm? More importantly it has our equipment crammed in so we can make all kinds of good coffee again. We've got a choice of espressos on now, and tonnes of filter - with the Fetco Batch Brew getting plumbed in today.

Lucy's back making her sweet treats again, including an incredible Cherry Pie which has gone down so well we're gonna do a regular Cherry Pie and Batch Brew deal. Twin Peaks feels. And we've got a nice little food offering again: homemade porridge, daily soup and sandwiches, and the classic avocado on toast and Idle Hands homemade cowboy beans.

So please come visit us on Dale street at our final ever pop-up (it better f**king be) before we bed down in our permanent home at the start of the new year and everyone starts to say "I remember when Idle Hands was cooler and falling apart, now they have fully painted walls and stuff plumbed in, sell-outs".
 

We tend to have Gus chilling out in the corner quite a lot too, so even if you don't like coffee, come meet our best mate.

Idle Hands
x

four

DIRTY POP....

Hullo!

When did we last speak? Like 2009 or something? Sorry for that, bad form. Promise I'll try harder to stay in touch, I don't want us to turn into "just someone I used to know", or even worse "Facebook friends".

We've had an interesting month or so. Me and Lucy got married (put that down in the pros column), went away to Italy for a little bit (also good), and Idle Hands gained a small puppy named Gus (he's alright too, he is).

However, LIFE KEEPS THROWING F**KING LEMONS AT US...

We crashed back down to earth pretty sharpish on returning home to find out the works on our unit hadn't been moving nearly as quickly as they were supposed to. Lemon.

It's okay though, we had the wonderful IMBC to keep us distracted, so we headed to our storage unit to get what we needed, only to find that two weeks prior, when Manchester had rained more than it normally does, our storage unit had flooded. LEMONS. I gotta say here, a big sorry to Iwan from Blawd for being privy to my (almost) breakdown, and a big thanks to Blawd and the IMBC lot for helping us forget about it and party.

Pretty much as soon as the IMBC happy glow had begun though, the construction folk managed to extinguish it like a the birthday candles on the cake Baron Munchausen bought Gustavus*. They called me in to tell me the council have decided not to backdate our application to when we submitted it...so because they simply didn't look at it for two months, they've extended the validation by that amount. LEMONS. So instead of the major works starting this week like we thought, it's now going to be next year. NEXT YEAR! LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS!
*ridiculous reference, sorry.

Breathe.

"So what about the lemonade?" you're all thinking, "You're gonna make lemonade, yeah?"


Picture the scene, it's mid 2001, a new thing called Wikipedia has launched, Foot and Mouth disease was all the rage, the music world hasn't even heard of an iPod, and a young man named Justin Timberlake is about to sing an opening line on an Nsync song that will feel incredibly relevant to a 33 year old coffee shop owner over 15 years later.
 

"Sick and tired of hearin' all these people talk about,
What's the deal with this pop [up] life and when is it gonna fade out?"


Dirty Pop. You guessed it guys...as much as it's pains me to say it, we're popping up. Again. LEMONADE.

 

Don't pretend you don't want to listen to this song right now. I've saved you the bother of searching for it. CLICK ME!

We're gonna try do this one right though. Not like our last pop-up within the barbers, but probably not quite as extensive as the Piccadilly station approach one. We've got new equipment we're dying to unleash which will make our coffee choices better than ever though, we'll have Lucy's ace cakes, aim to do a smattering of food (cowboy beans anyone?), and get this...even some seats this time.

The pop-up will be somewhere in the building of our future unit for a couple of months, it's yet to be fully figured out, but hopefully we'll be ready to go by the start of November. So stay tuned, more news on it will come thick and fast over the next couple of weeks.

If you're feeling a little underwhelmed by this after such a long wait, expecting us to be back with a bang, then I'm right there with you. But we're gonna try make the best of this frustrating situation, and we hope to see all the regular faces again.

And this isn't an admission of defeat either, we just missed being open. The new shop is definitely happening, and when I say "next year" I'm talking January/February. Let's use this as a chance to ease back in and hang out a bit before 2016 is finally laid to rest.

Thanks for reading! 
 
Dave

three

Good things come to those who wait....

That's what Guinness say right? Well just imagine the dum-du-dum-der-dumdrums from that advert as you read this and it'll all feel more exciting.

It's been a while since our last update, and even though the world seems to be now controlled by The Dice Man, not much has happened within our renovation plans. Unfortunately it's been more a case of waiting. And waiting. And then waiting some more. We're itching to get going and we're coiled like an old school jumping popper (you can keep your Pokemon Go thanks, I'll be happy with a piece of rubber you turn inside out and watch as it jumps off the table).

ANYWAY, we have more information now so we thought we'd pass it on to you. If you've only recently joined our mailing list, then we're currently popped up in the unit we'll be taking on before the renovations start (32-34 Dale Street in the Northern Quarter), but we will be moving out on Friday 12th August. At that point work will slowly start on the building in preparation for ourselves getting in there and building our shop. 

Unfortuntately this means we will most likely be disappearing for a couple of months. We're waiting on the planning permission to return and can't do anything till it does. A realistic time for us being open properly will be the end of October. 

So what of those two months in between? Well we'll be mainly trying not to freak out. And we're getting married ('cos hey, why not make this all even more stressful). We haven't got any plans for another pop-up at the minute, but never say never. Maybe we'll get jobs....does anyone need two super temp workers just for a couple of months? No? Thought not.

Well whatever happens, we're looking forward to finally knocking down walls and seeing that light at the end of the tunnel (top of the light well).

How long it will take us to be open is unfortunately out of our (idle) hands, but we can assure you once we are in the unit we're here to stay, and we're gonna try our hardest to make it special.

Thanks for your patience. And we'll keep you updated as things (hopefully) start to snowball.

Until Friday 12th August we'll be here serving you some tasty coffee and cake. We've got some great stuff coming in from Koppi Roasters in Sweden next week.

Dave & Lucy
Idle Hands
xx

two

You must not read from the book!

Well hello there. You forgot you signed up to this didn't you? It's been a while.

I'm not sure whether this is the mailer equivalent of a big cuddly bear waking from hibernation, rubbing his big sleepy eyes and excitedly adventuring out into the beautiful spring after some much needed rest....or the earth shuddering as a naive Rachel Weisz inadvertently reanimates The Mummy. Come on, Rachel! We all know you must not read from the book!

Anyway, I guess only time will tell. So let's give you some form of information that helps disguise this as slightly important, and not just something for me to do now I've slept for three weeks straight and watched The Mummy.

Firstly we've teamed up with our buds at Trove to bring you what should be a fun day of palate development, coffee drinking and home brewing techniques. Along with some awesome food and refreshments supplied by Trove themselves. Yes.

It's taking place at Trove, in Levenshulme, on Sunday 12th June. There's more info and you can book tickets here:
THAT SOUNDS GOOD
And just drop me an email if you have any questions about it. 

Here is some photos that represent the kind of magically activities we'd be getting up to on the day. That one with the mini bottles is my book of aromas. For reals. I have a book of smells.

And what of our new home, I think I heard that guy at the back ask?? Well here's what...

As these things usually go, there's been some delays. The renovations needed on our building have been pushed back slightly, meaning it might be closer to the end of summer before the new shiny Idle Hands is open. NEVERTHELESS we have plans to be back serving you coffees and cakes BY THE END OF THIS MONTH. Due to the renovations being pushed back, the unit we will be taking on is currently available for temporary use. Let me be honest, we miss you guys, and we miss Idle Hands, So we've decided to team up with our friends Mr Beardmore and pop-up in the unit with them till the work needs to start. This is where you'll find us...

You can already visit Mr Beardmore there (click HERE for a google street view), but by the end of the month we should be in there too, serving coffees and cakes as we always have. It's gonna be different, but it's gonna be great. Come hang out, come get your early morning coffee, come eat cake.

Hopefully see you soon.
Idle Hands Team
xx

one

"It's not goodbye, it's see you later"

...said Denzel Washington to his son as he was sentenced to prison in John Q...errrg...I promised myself i wouldn't cry...

Granted this situation isn't exactly the same, but i'll be damned if i'm missing the chance for a film quote. Anyway, it's been a long, tough, quick, friendly, frantic, up, down, hot, cold, crazy Katy Perry style year. And now our time here by Piccadilly Station is finally up. Our last day here is Friday (15th), then it's a busy weekend of packing up, scrubbing the walls, leaving no trace of the past year, returning the unit from fairytale cabbage to proverbial pumpkin.

Before we go any further I just want to use this chance to thank every single person that's ventured/stumbled/regularly burst into our temporary home from the derelict shabbysville that is Station Approach. We couldn't have existed without that and we will be forever grateful. 

Let's not drag this out though, as I can see you all welling up and we have some good news to share. It's been an 18 month search but the last 4 have been spent finalising the negotiations for our new permanent home*. So yeah, we ain't leaving you...

*I feel it's necessary to put a disclaimer in here as we know how these things work. The planning permission has gone in, and we're confident it'll all go through, but you know, sometimes computer says 'no' and delays can occur. We hope to open sometime in the summer but this mailing list is designed to keep you updated. So update it will.

So that's nice isn't it?

We'll be taking our love of coffee and our love of cakes, keeping our brew bar range and experimenting with new and exciting things more and more. And you better believe the cowboy beans will be coming with us. Hell, the beans can have their own bedroom. The changes will all be positive, we can finally settle down, build the shop we want and hopefully continue to hang out with you all. We're sorry to leave the convenience of being on the station's doorstep, but we reckon we're still close enough that we can be part of your route in and out of town. And we're extremely excited to move a little closer to what is an amazing coffee community in Manchester right now.

So that's our first mailer. I think it went well? I checked all the apostrophe's are in the right place anyway. Until next time, thanks again for following us and we hope you don't forget about us in the meantime.

I can't pull the *mic drop* off, so i'll just place it back in the mic stand.

Laters

Idle Hands Team
xx