A MEETING place for Welshpool people and an institution in the town centre has closed.
The Pinewood Cafe on Broad Street closed on Saturday, December 30, for the last time with the loss of 15 jobs.
From January 8, Costa takes possession of the building and the coffee chain will be opening a branch in the town soon.
The Powys County Times went to talk to staff and regular customers at the Pinewood, to find out what made it such a special venue.
“You don’t need to buy the County Times if you come here, you get all the gossip and news you need,” quipped Ann Morgan.
Her friend Pauline Bretts explained the attraction of the Cafe: “I’m gutted.
“It’s just a lovely place to come.
“We’re regulars and are here nearly every day.
“We come here to have a good talk and the coffee’s lovely as well as the staff.
“We get all the gossip here.”
David Price is upset that the cafe is closing and is wondering where he’ll go for his daily cuppa and dose of gossip.
“We’re here six days a week from 8am to about 11.30am.
“It’s a shame for Welshpool that we’re losing one of the best cafes in town.
“I’m disabled and I can park my mobility scooter outside.
“It’s part of the community.”
Both Sue Lee and Cara Woosnam started working at the Pinewood Cafe as a weekend job when they were teenagers.
With more than 30 years each working there, they both have fond memories of their time at the cafe.
Sue said: “I started as a 14-year-old, then I started doing the cooking on Saturdays.
“I volunteered to do the cakes and have been doing that ever since.
“I just like cooking and making things.
“I suppose my favourite memory...
“We used to be given a bottle of wine on Christmas Eve and I remember once, dancing on the coffee bar!”
Cara Woosnam said: “I’ve been here 30 years, I started as a 15-year-old, it was a weekend job when I started.
“It’s hard to describe why I stayed here for so long, I just enjoyed working here, the variation and meeting people.
“It’s been good fun over the years.”
Both worked their final shifts on Saturday.
“It’s all a bit gutting really,” added Cara.
In October signs were put up in the cafe windows to say that they would be closing it on December 30.
Rumours were rife that Costa Coffee would be taking the premises over.
But it was not until November that building owners Kathryn and Sheila Evans confirmed they had sold the building to Larentia, a London based firm which runs Costa Coffee shops across the UK.
The Pinewood cafe used to be known as The Blue cafe and was run from 1955 by sisters Mary and Margaret Foulkes.
The cafe was bought by Mervyn Evans on October 30, 1962.
It was then established by Mervyn and his brother Wynn as the Pinewood Home Bakery, Restaurant and Coffee House.
Mervyn and Wynn were the sons of Evan Evans, who had been in the catering business in Pant, Newtown and Berriew Street, Welshpool.
They gained an excellent reputation catering for outside functions such as wedding receptions, balls and parties throughout the area.
This work continued until the mid 1970s when they gave up to concentrate solely on the Pinewood.
Wynn died in 2000 and Mervyn carried on the business until his death in 2011.
From 2011, Amanda Gittins managed and leased the business.