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De Melo
248 Linthorpe Halls


Sweet Dreams turn to Reality with New Business Venture

Start & Grow is a really great programme as it meant that I was helped from the very beginning when I was playing around with the ideas I wanted to run with but hadn’t quite nailed down into a business plan Imran Ayoub

An enterprising couple have given their sweet new business in Middlesbrough a boost thanks to help and guidance through the Start & Grow programme and a £40,000 start-up loan.

De Melo, based on Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough had a flying start in July 2015 when, to satisfy the sugar cravings of Teesside residents, husband and wife team, Imran and Nadia Ayoub opened the city’s newest café and dessert emporium.

De Melo is not just any high street café, the contemporary artisan bakery offers a bistro style service to customers looking for quality and unique sweet treats, no matter what the time of day.

Imran, a former journalist and taxi driver came up with the idea for De Melo’s when his love for his wife’s deliciously baked goods made him seek out locations for a possible café when driving taxi routes throughout Middlesborough.

Imran said: “We first came up with the idea for De Melo’s over a year ago so in reality it has taken around 15 months from conception to business launch. We wanted to create a coffee shop that offered an antidote to all of the high street chains where homemade desserts sit alongside truly great tasting coffee, in addition to towering ice cream sundaes and tasty chocolate covered waffles.

“We are open from 8am till 11pm which means we serve a breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner time and late evening crowd wanting a little bit of everything no matter what time of day. Our American style desserts certainly keep us busy after 6pm with students on the hunt for something to satisfy their sweet tooth and celebrating special occasions with families by ordering the biggest and best ice cream sundae we have on the menu to share.”

Imran worked with TEDCO Business Support via their Start and Grow programme to help get the business off the ground. The start up support agency provided Imran with a personal business advisor who worked on a one-to-one basis with Imran and Nadia, helping to take the business from concept, to the planning stage, through to funding and launch.

Imran comments: “I worked firstly with advisor James Craft, and then subsequently Mark Johnston from TEDCO who helped me every step of the way, and is still on hand whenever I have any questions. We worked extensively on my business plan and cash flow projections and then Mark helped with applying for our Virgin StartUp loan which was essential to getting the business moving.”

Imran continues; “We were successful in receiving a £40,000 low cost loan from Virgin StartUp which helped fund the initial start up costs and allow us to look for premises and equipment to really push on with our idea for De Melo’s. With the business now up and running, we are employing seven staff and were recently voted ‘Best New Café’ in the Teesside Evening Gazette People’s Choice Awards.

“We couldn’t be happier with what we’ve achieved and I’m just happy that customers get to enjoy my wife’s signature cookies and cream cakes as much as I do.”

Mark Johnston, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support comments; “De Melo’s is a fantastic new business for Middlesbrough and justifiably the peoples choice for best new café in the city. Imran and Nadia are extremely passionate about their business and it shows in every cake, coffee and dessert served to customers. The creative menu and tasteful surroundings showcase real flair and it has been a real pleasure to work with both Imran and Nadia to give this great business team the one-to-one help they needed to get De Melo’s up and running.”

Imran and Nadia received 109 hours of support and three days training.  They have invested a total of £67,000 into the business and currently employ six staff.

For Start & Grow business support and advice in the North East contact TEDCO.


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