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Central Leeds: Vintage tearoom inspired by lasting legacy

Owner Janine Martin. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Owner Janine Martin. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Janine Martin.

The 46-year-old lost her best friend Fiona Whitling to breast cancer in 2012.

But it was this heartbreak that spurred Janine on to follow her dream.

School friend Fiona left Janine some money in her will and, after working as a personal assistant for 20 years, she finally found the courage to leave her job and set up a vintage tearoom in Leeds.

“It has enabled me to have a new career and that’s apparently something that she wanted – unbeknownst to me!

“[Fiona] had told her boyfriend that’s what she wanted,” Janine said. “It gave me the chance to set something up for myself.

“Within weeks I had the tearoom and within a year it had really taken off.”

After trying out two different sites Janine has now settled at a spot in the Grand Arcade.

Janine said: “There is a nice community feel in the arcade. We are all there for each other.”

The Just Grand! Vintage Tearoom sells cakes, scones and teacakes and sandwiches, which are all handmade on the premises.

She added: “Just Grand! is a success story through not only my hard work and determination but that of my family and a great team of staff.

“My mum and auntie help with the baking and my husband Will likes to sit and chat to the customers – he’s the one usually in a trilby.

“Although it was borne out of my idea and dream to create a fun atmosphere people don’t just come for tea and cake – I like to create an experience for them too.

“Harking back to the old days brings up happy memories for most people and its lovely to hear customers’ stories that may flow from a recognised piece of china or a vintage dress that me or my staff are wearing.”

The tearooms was previously located in the Handpicked Hall, but when the venue closed, Janine and several other businesses decided to set up shop at the Grand Arcade themselves.

To find out more about the Grand Arcade, visit: www.grandarcadeleeds.co.uk

 

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