A FIFTEEN- year-old dream has come true for Royal Wootton Bassett butcher Andy Crump with the opening of a café in the former 99p shop next door.

Crump’s Coffee Shop and Cafe opened last week, 32 years after his parents set up their business in the high street and was deluged with eager customers.

Andy, who took over when his dad Keith retired in 1999, first had designs on the shop when he was thinking of expanding the business and creating a food hall. The owner wasn’t ready to sell up, but promised that when the time came he would give his neighbour first refusal.

True to his word, he let Andy know last year and the deal was done. In January work started to convert the building.

“When we bought it all we were left with was four walls. We had to strip everything back to the brickwork,” he said.

One of the first jobs they had to do was replace the roof. Then in January, with the help of local contractors, friends and family, they started turning it into a café, installing a new kitchen, counter and breakfast bar.

“We hummed and haahed about what we should do with it and decided if we opened it as a café and coffee shop we could use all out products that we sell in the butcher’s shop for the lunches,” he said.

“We opened last Tuesday and it was just absolutely phenomenal. It far exceeded what we were expecting. We didn’t know how many staff to have.”

Being an established business they had some idea of the trade it might attract, but it wasn’t until they opened the doors that they realised how popular it was likely to be.

“It was like a baptism of fire. Everybody was absolutely shattered by the end of the week,” he said.

“It has been a big, big learning curve but it has been very positive.”

Regular customers of the shop have started popping in there and the hope is café customers will like the food so much they will go nextdoor to buy the ingredients.

Eight people are employed in the café in full and part-time jobs and while chef Bob Kavara runs the kitchen, front of house is managed by his former wife Carol. Their son Jamie works in the butcher’s for Andy running Jamie’s Kitchen and making ready meals.

“Carol has been absolutely brilliant organising everything,” he said.

The 50-cover café, featuring favourite dishes like faggots, Crump's pies and Wiltshire ham, is open from 7am to 4pm Monday to Saturday, with breakfasts served until 11am and brunch afterwards.