By Rachael Grealish
You’re not getting déjà vu – there really is a new Déjà Brew cafe coming to West Cumbria.
Just over a year after opening his first cafe in Cleator Moor Thomas Cheung is launching his second store in Egremont tomorrow, Monday October 18.
The new cafe will not only be offering the businesses signature bubble tea, found at his flagship Cleator Moor cafe, but also bubble waffles as part of the new menu.
The 26-year-old entrepreneur opened the county’s only bubble tea cafe as the world was on the cusp of the COVID-19 lockdown, but despite the difficulties this caused he’s gone strength to strength.
Thomas puts his success down to the support of his home community saying ‘we are very lucky’, especially after the difficulties posed by COVID restrictions when the country reopened.
He said: “We are very lucky that we are in such a supportive community, a lot of people visited us as soon as we opened back up and I think it definitely helped the fact that we offer something no other places in Cumbria offer so we would often get customers travelling from Cockermouth and Carlisle for a bubble tea.”
It was this support that drove the Egremont-based business owner to expand.
“After seeing the success we have had at our Cleator Moor cafe, I knew I didn’t want to stop there,” he explained, “When the property became available in Egremont, I was really excited as it meant I would be able to open my second cafe in my hometown.”
An important factor for Thomas when launching Déjà Brew was giving back to the community that supported him and, as the case with the new cafe, he is able to provide several full time and part time positions.
He said: “I have been in business in Copeland for several years now and I have received so much support from the local community in these years so I always like to do what I can to give back whether it’s through local charities or providing job opportunities.”
Thomas was no stranger to running his own business after all, he launched his own premium tea company, Y-Tea, back in 2018 – which has since been recognised by the Great Taste Awards.
Although the community has been and continues to be a huge support to Thomas and his businesses he said his biggest inspiration comes from his parents.
“My parents will always be my biggest inspiration. They have done so much for me so I can be where I am today and I owe it all to them,” he explained.
“I am very lucky that I have such supportive parents, although they were not able to support me financially, they have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.”
For Thomas opening a cafe was always his dream and now he wants other people to go out there and ‘act now’ on their dreams.
He said: “Not many people know this but I’ve always wanted to run my own cafe or restaurant ever since I was little so when the opportunity came, it was a no brainer.”
“My best advice to anyone who wants to start their own business is to stop overthinking and act now.
“Go out there and test your idea, if it works, great, start scaling. You will never know until you’ve tried.”
As he continues to grow his business and follow his dreams Thomas did confirm that the road doesn’t end with the opening of the Egremont cafe, oh no, a third establishment is absolutely in the pipeline.
“Déjà Brew no.3 will definitely happen,” Thomas said, “Although we are not sure where yet. I will maybe let our customers decide?”
So, keep your eyes peeled as you never know, you may get déjà vu when another Déjà Brew pops up.
Déjà Brew will be opening in Egremont from tomorrow, Monday October 18.
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