Two well-known Cork sports personalities opened up a takeaway coffee and snack hut in Innishannon last weekend.
Jack Walsh who plays with Cork City FC and Valley Rovers GAA Club, along with his friend and Valley Rovers club colleague Kevin Canty launched their new business venture called Sideline Hut which enjoyed a very successful opening weekend.
Innishannon native Jack was thrilled with the support they received on their first weekend. “There was a steady flow of customers over both days. We are very grateful for the great support we received,” he said.
The duo has launched their business venture in the heart of Innishannon village, in the GAA grounds known locally as the Bleach. Mr Walsh is delighted with the location for their business venture.
“We are based down by the old pitches known locally as the Bleach. We are located right next to the playground. It is a great location as there is a popular walkway going around the GAA grounds. We hope to be very busy.
“We plan to be open when the schools are closed. We will be open every weekend throughout the year and we will be operating during the week during the school holidays. Our thinking is there won’t be as much football when the schools are open. We will play it by ear and if the demand is there we might open more frequently going forward,” he added.
Both Jack and Kevin were trained up as baristas in recent weeks. Jack is confident there is a niche in the market for a mobile hut selling takeaway hot drinks and snacks.
“We serve fresh coffee, tea and hot chocolates. We have a girl from Carrigaline doing the baking for us so people can enjoy a few treats with their drinks. There is definitely a market for coffee. Hopefully, it is not just a fad. It seems to be the highlight of people’s days to go out for a walk and get a takeaway coffee.
"We have a proper coffee machine and we both got trained up as baristas. Tony from West Cork Coffee did a few evenings training us in which helped get us up to speed. There is a good bit to learn as it is very technical,” he said.
The Cork sports star said they got the idea for the business after witnessing huge queues for takeaway coffees at Blackrock Market last October.
Jack said there was a lot of work behind the scenes to make their business dreams come through.
“Between lockdowns, a few of us went to Blackrock Market and we were shocked at the huge queues for coffee huts. Kevin and I were messing initially that a coffee hut would thrive in Innishannon. The idea kept progressing however as we looked into it in more detail. We bought our mobile unit in Monaghan. There was a lot of work behind the scenes to get to where we are today.”
Despite their sporting commitments with their various teams and their other work commitments, both Jack and Kevin are determined to work in the Sideline Hut as much as possible said Mr Walsh.
“Kevin is a teacher, while I am a quantity surveyor. We are both very busy but we intend to work there as much as possible. It is important as we are the face of the business. We hope our involvement in the various sporting organisations will attract people. We have also received great support from our families which has been a great help,” he added.