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Coffee lounge to take over vacant offices in ‘cosmopolitan’ Eccles

A local developer is planning to open a new coffee lounge on the site of a famous former store in Eccles.

Stretford-based The Malaga Drift Coffee Company Ltd is due to open its first outlet in a rather unprepossessing two-storey brick office building at the top of the Church Street (left of main image).

The building itself has been largely empty since 2013.

But the ground floor is to come back into use as an open plan cafe/lounge supporting two part-time and two full-time jobs.

Company director Gordon Conway said he was aiming for a July opening, and that Eccles was the perfect place to start his coffee empire.

“I’ve worked in logistics and transport for over 25 years, the last eight or so for a food and drink retailer, so it was time for a change of scenery for me.

“I was inspired by a trip to Malaga with a few friends; we found some wonderful coffee places and I thought to myself, I want somewhere nice where people can sit like this, step out of their normal environment, put their feet up and relax.”

So began Malaga Drift. The company was incorporated in October 2015 and Gordon has been searching for the right location ever since.

“Starbucks and Costa snap up a lot of the likely places but Eccles has the right footfall and the prices were right.

“I also looked at Bolton, Stretford, Worsley and Whitefield but for a new business Eccles was just perfect.”

Salford City Council passed change of use plans on the building earlier this month after offering this support for the idea: “Eccles Town Centre currently has a number of vacant units, including the property subject to this application which has been vacant since 2013.

“It is considered that the proposed change of use will help the vitality and viability of the centre by bringing a vacant unit back into use and potentially increasing footfall to the centre.”

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The proposed opening hours are 7.30am to 9.30pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 7.30pm Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Also in the plans are erecting a two-metre canopy to extend into Church Street with a small seating area outside.

“Hopefully you’ll see four or five tables outside, where people can drift in and out.”

Gordon praised the council for making moves to improve Eccles, including the addition of a new street market.

“Businesses do want to open here and it just felt right,” he said.

Eventually Gordon hopes to expand and open more Malaga Drift outlets in the North West, “once we’ve got the pattern right”.

Older readers may remember Allendale’s greengrocer and general store on this site.

The previous building is long demolished but Allendale’s offered shoppers everything from Christmas trees to poultry and fish and was a formative part of the bustling Church Street of the 1960s and 1970s.

© Salford Local History Library

© Salford Local History Library

At its height there were no pedestrianized areas, instead Salford Corporation buses (to the right of the picture) went directly downhill Church Street towards where Eccles bus station is now.

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Gordon says of his new lounge: “It is in my opinion in everyone’s interest for this to be an inviting place and make people comfortable and welcome on a pedestrian precinct.

“The addition of appropriate seating perhaps an extendable canopy, a few well placed hedges, flower pots and bring about a more cosmopolitan appeal which is a good thing for this area,” he said.

Malage Drift Coffee Lounge is aiming for a July 2016 opening.

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.