Through conversation, it became apparent that the younger generation were more interested in unique coffee drinks in the garden than they were about getting back to the pub, so Brian started a whole new range of beverages.
“Banoffee Lattes?! Red Velvet Mochas? Iced Cheesecake ranges alongside cakes with a twist? Yep, we added them. The demand was there, and they always went down a treat! Soon, the little ones took an interest in our funky flavours, so we started a caffeine-free range of iced milk and hot chocolate delights. We even go booked to cater for a children’s doorstep birthday party off the back of an Instagram post!”
So why have so many people been drawn to Ro’s? It may be because Brian is seen as somewhat of an inspiration to some.
“I suffer with my mental health, and from the start of Ro’s, I’ve been very open about that. This led to a mother telling me I was an inspiration to her son as he too suffers with his mental health, and seeing me build a business helped him realise all is not lost for him. I’ve always got time for a coffee, cake and a chat with anyone that needs it.”
And the filling-of-cups doesn’t stop there for Brian. His business has seen him develop new solid relationships with community groups and charities, which means he has enjoyed being part of plenty of local events over the last year. You may have spotted him and his van at the Sherfield Park Community Picnic in the Park, Spotlight Family Fun Day and the Basingstoke & District Disability Forum Scarecrow Trail around his appearances at the Portsmouth Arms Weekly Market.
Did you know: The money businesses pay to pitch at the market goes to charity? Brian is proud to have contributed to the more than £60,000 The Portsmouth Arms has raised since starting the market in 2020.
Lockdown restrictions and the want to give back led Brian to organise Halloween and Christmas events in 2020, with 15% of proceeds going to Naomi House and Jacks Place.
“I’ve lived in Basingstoke my whole life, but my work still took me to locations I didn’t know existed! My favourite discovery was The Walled Garden in Down Grange. We were there as part of the Basingstoke Festival open cinema event, and what a perfect location it was. It should be used for more community events, maybe even a monthly market. What a gem.”
There are so many beautiful parts of Basingstoke that you might not know about, and that’s
probably the best thing to come out of lockdown; my appreciation for the vast communities we have and just how many open spaces there are to get out, enjoy the fresh air and walk the dogs in!