A business backed by Dacorum’s Dragons will soon be set to open its doors for homemade cakes and local produce.
The Tea Tree has set up shop in Hemel Hempstead’s Old Town and is a homegrown business run by 38-year-old Lisa Westwood, who was born and bred in Abbots Langley.
The entrepreneur has always worked in cafes but took her dream to set up her own tea rooms – serving everything from brunches to afternoon teas – to the judges behind the business initiative Dacorum’s Den earlier this year.
Now in its third year, Dacorum’s Den is run jointly by Dacorum Borough Council and the Maylands Partnership, and offers grant funding to small businesses who can impress the panel of experts with their proposals.
Lisa’s business was one of eight to receive the £1,000 grants, but impressed judges including town MP Mike Penning so much she received a further £1,000 in the judges’ choice category.
Mr Penning will now officially open the tea room – the latest firm to invest in the town’s newly renovated High Street – on Saturday, August 23.
Mum-of-two Lisa, who now lives in Kings Langley, said: “I have worked in different cafes but this is the first time I’ve gone into business on my own.
“I’ll have my mum, auntie and best friend baking homemade cakes, and all of my family have been mucking in.”
Lisa has been busy collecting old-fashioned china cups and saucers for the vintage-style tea rooms, which will also sell sweets and be open for a more extensive ‘brunch’ menu at weekends.
The Tea Tree held a stall at the Old Town’s launch festival in July and, according to Lisa, received lots of positive feedback.
She said: “It’s so pretty up here in the High Street now, it is looking so nice.
“We are really lucky that we’ve come when we have – people have struggled here but now is a good time for the Old Town. We are really excited.”