It’s a family affair for new coffee shop at Hurst Green station
Published: 12 Aug 2021
The Stubley family from Purley had always talked about opening their own coffee shop, but until last year it had remained a pipe dream. With the Covid-19 pandemic leaving their son out of work, there was no better time to make this dream a reality.
23-year-old William Stubley lives with hemiplegia – a neurological condition which affects people in different ways, including weakness and a lack of control on one side of the body. For Will, the disorder extends to his right hand and affects the right side of his vision.
Will had just begun a promising career as a sports journalist with Chelsea Football Club but, like many others, this came to a grinding halt in March 2020 as the pandemic took hold of the country. His parents, Jonathan and Lorna Stubley, took a leap of faith and opened ‘Track 1’ at Southern’s Hurst Green station; thanks to this, Will now helps out serving coffee, cakes and other delicacies to local villagers.
Jonathan Stubley explains: “We opened Track 1 for a number of reasons and of course, Will losing his job was a really important one; we wanted to support him and get him earning money again. More than that though, this is something my wife Lorna and I have talked about doing for years.”
Jonathan, who had worked for the BBC for over 30 years as a sound engineer and project manager, took redundancy in early 2020 at the same time as wife Lorna was also looking for a change. The pair decided it was now or never to pursue a business of their own with Lorna having just trained as a professional Barista, the time seemed right.
“With Covid and everything last year, our plans for the summer were scuppered, so we decided to use the time to look around Purley and see if we could find any suitable spots to open a coffee shop,” Jonathan adds. “After viewing unsuitable spaces and narrowly missing out on others for over six months, we’d almost given up; but then we got a call from Southern in February of this year.
“They told us that a unit on platform 1 was opening up. We went down there straight away! It needed a bit of work, but we could instantly see the potential. It was a good spot and a good station, so we went for it.”
The Stubleys took possession of the space on 17 February and spent two months refurbishing it. They came up with the name Track 1 and officially opened for business on 12 April 2021 on a freezing cold and snowy day. Jonathan admits that at this point, he and Lorna wondered whether they had made the right decision. Fewer people travelling and passing through the station, combined with bad weather, meant opening day was underwhelming to say the least.
However, things have changed in recent months with more and more customers returning to the railway every day and the wider Hurst Green community being aware of Track 1’s presence. There are even days when the family run out of cups because it’s so busy.
“There were many negatives to come out of the pandemic, but for us – it gave us the push we needed to challenge ourselves. If Covid-19 hadn’t have happened, I’d probably just be pottering around the garden!” explains Jonathan.
“We’re hugely grateful to Southern and the Hurst Green community for getting behind us. We’ve built up relationships with the locals and have some customers that we see every day. I think the pandemic has made people cherish small businesses a lot more and it’s great that our family-run coffee shop has so much support.”
Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern, says: “It’s been great to welcome Track 1 to the Southern family this year. Starting a new business during a global pandemic is no mean feat, so it’s brilliant to see this coffee shop go from strength to strength.
“We’re working hard to make sure the railway is accessible for everyone and for William to be working in the coffee shop really brings this ethos to life. Track 1 has brought much excitement to Hurst Green and we wish it continued success.”
Track 1 is run by Lorna, Jonathan, William and their youngest daughter Bel Stubley. The coffee shop is open from 05:45 – 14:00 Monday to Friday and from 09:00 – 14:00 every Sunday. The coffee shop is based on platform one at Hurst Green station, which is managed by Southern Rail. For more information, visit: Track 1 Hurst Green (facebook.com)
For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.
Govia Thameslink Railway