An expanding independent known for its great blend of coffee and live music is investing more than £150,000 in bringing its name to Lincoln – in a move which promises to create about 12 new jobs. 

Banks Long & Co has leased the city’s former Patisserie Valerie outlet at the top of the High Street to Stray’s, which started its life in Newark in 2003, where it has grown to also have a bookshop and host live jazz and mindfulness sessions. 

In addition to its new Lincoln premises, Stray’s -  which is headed by brother and sister team Mat Short and Liz Mack – is showing its wider confidence in Lincolnshire’s economy with plans to expand to Stamford in March. 

That move follows hot on the heels of Stray’s taking its brand to Oakham (Rutland) last November.  Its shops in Newark, Oakham and Stamford will together provide work for 35 people. 

Mat is now looking forward to welcoming his first customers to Stray’s new Lincoln coffee shop, eatery and live music venue in the Spring. 

“We know our brand is ideally suited to Newark and we see a synergy with Lincoln, where we are confident we can build a loyal customer base in a city where people love to live, shop and support independents which use local suppliers and create local jobs,” said Mat. 

“I’ve always loved the historic part of the city and wandering around the Castle, then walking down Steep Hill and emerging into the High Street, where we are delighted to be leasing the former Patisserie Valerie premises.  It is quite ironic because, at one point, I considered taking on several of that companies’ former outlets,” added Mat. 

“Banks Long & Co Associate Lewis Cove is familiar with our Newark business and alerted me to the fact that the Lincoln shop was available, so this investment fits in perfectly with the timing of our continuing expansion,” he added. 

“These are large premises in Lincoln’s busy High Street, so they will take several weeks to fit out in our quirky style and we are very excited about this venture. 

“Coffee is what we’ve become really well known for, but we’ll also be offering soft drinks, made-to-order food, homemade cakes and, of course, bottled wines and beers. Added to that, we’ll be putting on live jazz every week, promoting local and national jazz musicians alike. It’s a fantastic time for us!”

Banks Long & Co Associate Lewis Cove said:  “We are delighted to have found a tenant for these premises so quickly.  It reflects the sense of positivity in the market at present when it comes to leisure-style businesses. 

“It is particularly pleasing to be welcoming a new independent brand to Lincoln,” he added. 

Photograph: L to R
Banks Long & Co Associate Director Lewis Cove and Mat Short of Stray's