Gavin Barnett from the CWLEP Growth Hub with Cornelia Papureanu from Papp’s Cafe

A family-run business which opened in Coventry two weeks before lockdown has re-opened with a new-look and a five-figure investment.

Cornelia Papureanu realised a long-held dream to open Papp’s Cafe when it threw open its doors in Holbrook Lane, Holbrooks.

But despite being forced to close due to Covid-19, with support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, takeaway customers are being welcomed with social distancing measures in place.

During the enforced closure, Cornelia has invested more money into the business by buying a whippy ice-cream machine and a slush ice-type machine to sell iced coffees as well as changing the menu.


She said she is expecting business to be tough but she is determined to go ahead with realising her ambition after working on the plans while studying for a business management degree at the Birmingham campus of the University of Roehampton.

“When I first wanted to set up a business, I contacted Coventry City Council and they put me in touch with the Growth Hub and Gavin Barnett called me to tell me exactly the steps I needed to take,” said Cornelia, who hails from Romania and runs Papp’s Café with her husband, Jay, and her son, George.

“I used to work in marketing and advertising in TV in Romania and I have wanted to open a café for the last ten years.

“I moved to England six years ago and I have been working slowly towards this since then.

“We have invested almost £30,000 in the business and this is a coffee shop selling fresh roasted coffee from Monsoon Estates along with sandwiches, salads, cakes and smoothies as well as an online business.

“We wanted to open a business where people can try something a little bit different as well as traditional refreshments and food and the feedback from customers is that they are enjoying our cakes and coffee.

“I know it will be a very, very difficult year for me but we have re-arranged the shop while it was closed and bought two new machines so that we could re-open following the new social distancing rules.

“The support from the Growth Hub has been fantastic because they have helped me every step of the way.”

Gavin Barnett, business navigator at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the unit in Holbrooks had previously been a hot baguette takeaway.

He said: “When Cornelia came to us, she said she had a dream of running her own coffee shop and it is great to see that become a reality despite the set-back of lockdown.

“She had a vision and she has listened and acted on the advice to get the business up-and-running.

“She is very adaptable – I went to visit Papp’s Café before lockdown and again a week ago and it has changed completely. She has re-assessed the menu and the kind of food and drinks her customers were saying they wanted and she has acted by bringing in an ice-cream machine and chilled coffee machine. We wish her the best of luck.”