A new café venture by the entrepreneur behind one of central Scotland's most popular pubs is being hailed as part of a "Falkirk renaissance", and a showcase for the revival of the nation's depressed historic town centres.
Known as Café on Wooer, or CoW, Falkirk's first artisan coffee bar is being opened by Chris Morris, the local entrepreneur who helped transform the town's flagging night-time economy when he opened the landmark Behind The Wall pub (BTW) in 1985. He then sold the pub in 2006 to concentrate on the Equity Gap business angel group.
Morris said: "BTW was a success because it brought a slice of the city to the town for the first time, attracting people from throughout Scotland.
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"Now, thanks to The Falkirk Wheel, The Helix (canalside nature park) and the Kelpies (giant equestrian sculptures), Falkirk is becoming a destination. I believe there's a unique opportunity to recreate BTW's success based around the daytime coffee scene."
With capacity for 60 covers on two floors, CoW promises to combine high standards of service, coffee and locally sourced food.
Laurence Barrett, chief executive of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: "Falkirk is undergoing a renaissance attracting both tourism and business - CoW is a symbol of this rebirth. Additionally reassuring is Falkirk Council's secured funding of £67 million through the tax incremental financing scheme, expected to lever in £413m in private investment, creating almost 6000 jobs across the Falkirk and Grangemouth areas."
Morris added: "My business interests have evolved with my personal taste. I used to hang out in bars, now I spend a lot of my time in coffee shops. I think a combination of the bar atmosphere and coffee shop offering will be attractive to a wide range of people."