Verso Lounge opens in Stafford - putting an end to six costly years for the taxpayer
A new cafe bar opening put an end to six costly years of empty units for taxpayers.
The Loungers Verso Lounge opened in Staffordshire Place 1 yesterday as the first business to fill the unit since the lavish £38million building, shared with Staffordshire County Council, was built in 2011.
It has cost tax payers nearly £10,000 in business rates but it has got the ball rolling as dessert shop, Sweet Cafe, will be the next to move in to Staffordshire Place 2 in the coming months.
Peter Dinsdale, Area Manager, said: "It's going well so far. We have only been open for three hours so far and so good. There's 103 seats here and we've turned over each table at least once."
"It is what I call a true lounging style- we have attracted mums in kids with colouring packs, people in meetings, a group that just got married next door, we've got couples coming in for coffee and cake, and people working on laptops. It is something for everyone, it is such an eclectic mix.
"The first person walked in 1 minute after opening at 9am. We've been quite lucky, there's been interest in what we've been doing and we've had tonnes of people come in. Some even tried coming in yesterday before we opened when we were doing the furniture.
"Obviously its good for us here, there's a lot of local lunch trade with offices working around and we are halfway to city centre so if today is anything to go on we will do great."
"Loungers is all about community and being part of community and we're trying to get to know people in the area. It is good for everyone."
Loungers has made a six figure investment into the new store and has created around 20 jobs in the venue, for which a licensing application was approved earlier this year. It is the newest of a collection of Loungers bar cafes that are open in the West Midlands, including Birmingham and Sutton Coldfield.
In the evening there was an invite-only VIP opening party for local businesses and people in the community to enjoy tapas and the bar from 6pm-8pm before being opened to the public again.
The bar is open 8am until 11.30pm Sunday to Wednesday and 8am until 12.30am Thursday to Saturday.