Abersychan mum of two, Carly Hughes, previously a teacher for 13 years, is a keen cook with a passion for quality, fresh and home baked food and had a childhood dream to own a café one day.

Having attended the Torfaen Pop up Business school earlier this year, she felt the time was right during the summer of 2019 to launch her hot and cold food van business, aptly named Cool Beans.

Carly now provides firms and their staff based on the business and industrial estates around Pontypool, Abersychan and Blaenavon with a wide variety of delicious snacks, homemade cakes, baguettes and sandwiches, including hot bacon rolls and hot dogs. The business has also recently achieved a hygiene inspection rating of five which Carly is delighted with.

Carly attended the Torfaen Pop up Business school three day event organised by the Torfaen Economy & Enterprise team at Torfaen council and readily took on board the advice, guidance and innovative, practical approach advocated.

She said: “I wanted to avoid any large debt, set up on a budget and gain the confidence to really take strides forward with my dream of owning a café.

"I was really inspired and got a huge buzz out of the experience.

"It was during the event that the idea of a mobile delivery van service came to me and I haven’t looked back since.

"As a result of attending the Torfaen Pop Up Business school I developed a website for free, got to know other like-minded people who could support me in my journey, gained some ideas on how to raise capital effectively and even met someone who worked with me to develop the distinctive Cool Bean branding. I loved this event.

“Although it’s been hectic, this is definitely the right time for me to start my business. In the evenings I make and bake the cakes and then from 6am I prepare all the sandwiches and baguettes using the freshest and tastiest of fillings. From 9am until lunch time I’m on the delivery circuit with my very own branded delivery van.”

She said: “The feedback I have had has been so positive and it’s great to hear that customers are already appreciating the service, value and quality.

“I want to develop the pre-order side of the business over the coming months and eventually take on a unit for the food preparation, along with additional staff to help.”

Gaynor Wakeling, business support manager at Torfaen Economy and Enterprise, said: “I am thrilled that Carly has been inspired by our Torfaen Pop Up Business School to set up her business and that she took on board the advice and approach advocated. Her enthusiasm for and dedication to her new business is evident and I am sure it will go from strength to strength.”

Councillor Richard Clark, deputy leader and executive member for economy, skills and regeneration at Torfaen Council, said: “It is excellent to hear about new businesses being set up in Torfaen and providing a service to local estates and businesses. I wish Carly all the very best in her new venture.”

Find Cool Beans every weekday morning at: Panteg Way, Polo Grounds; Pontnewynydd Industrial Estate; Abersychan Industrial Estate; Gilchrist Thomas Blaenavon and Mamhilad Park Estate.