La Bottega Milanese in The Light Leeds closing down after ten years

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An independent Leeds coffee shop is closing its store in The Light after almost ten years.

La Bottega Milanese (LBM) became the first espresso bar outside of London where you could still drink an espresso at 11pm when it opened in The Light in May 2011.

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A little piece of Italy in Leeds

Alex Galentino set up the first LBM in The Calls in 2009, inspired by the cafe culture in his native Milan, which he quickly outgrew.

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The Light Leeds (photo: Google).The Light Leeds (photo: Google).
The Light Leeds (photo: Google).

His brand had a residency in Harvey Nichols for a period and there is still a store in Bond Court, as well as a successful online business.

A post on the LBM website read: "We always wondered what it would be like to close a store, as with The Calls and Bond Court, we poured the cliche’ “blood sweat and tears” with a good dose of Milanese heart too.

"When you painted the logo on the wall yourself, scrubbed every corner of the unit more than you ever did your own home - you never quite think of how it would feel to do the reverse one day.

"For the record, it sucks.

La Bottega Milanese in The Light.La Bottega Milanese in The Light.
La Bottega Milanese in The Light.

"It’s a numbing pain, one that you do not want to share and want to make just yours."

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There has been "incredible worry, stress, anxiety and relentless work behind the scenes", the post read.

"You should be good enough to predict an outcome, you should come up with a plan whilst being a solid leader to those who look at you for reference, work, hope," it continued.

"You should, you should, you should - but this time you can’t.

La Bottega Milanese founder Alex Galentino.La Bottega Milanese founder Alex Galentino.
La Bottega Milanese founder Alex Galentino.

"A solution wasn’t found, but what we have been able to do is to look after our own, fiercely.

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"Our staff has been protected and looked after, right up to now, our suppliers fully paid bang on the 20th of March.

"We are immensely sad to see our team go, we do hope to be able to welcome back some at our Bond Court store when things start picking up again.

"In the meantime we are doing everything possible to place them in other indie businesses around the area."

The brand is "still strong", the post read, and loyal customers have been supporting the Bond Court store, which is open for takeaway.

There will be more seating options come Saturday, July 4

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It added: "Our new webshop launched during the pandemic gaining a following and regular customers of its own.

"Our appeal is ever increasing, leading to the addition of a couple of exciting collaborations via our office supply and self serve kiosk offer which we will announce very soon.

"New trade accounts too, as well as chats with potential landlords, all positive signs that we need to focus on and gain encouragement from.

"Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward, and we are already on with it.

"Grazie, arrivederci and #BEMILANESE."


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