Full steam ahead for Dot’s new bistro

A cafe owner is back on track after overcoming the nightmare of being made redundant.

Dorothy Crimes, 63, has launched a new bistro, Dot2Dot, on Platform 1 at Wrexham General Station.

It was officially opened by Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths who was joined by a host of Dot’s loyal customers at the celebration.

Although the bistro is based at the station, it is also open to non train users.

Dot joined Wrexham and Shropshire Railway in 2008 as a Senior Steward and was then promoted to Catering Supervisor.

She ran the small platform cafe and was responsible for keeping the trains stocked with food and drink.

But everything came to a crashing halt in February last year when Wrexham and Shropshire Railway made Dot and more than 50 other people redundant.

A year after taking over the lease on the cafe herself, Dot has now moved into bigger premises.

She recalled: “Being made redundant was horrendous for all of us, there were 56 of us in the company.

“We were told on the Tuesday night that we were being made redundant and that we were finishing on the Friday.

“When I got my redundancy, I asked about taking on the cafe – there were about 10 people who wanted it but I was lucky enough to get chosen.  I reopened the cafe in March last year.

“I have always wanted to extend into the bigger premises and it’s taken a year to get the leases sorted. The room we’re in now used to be my stock room.

“We’re going to carry on with the opening hours from 6am to 5pm and on a Saturday, from 8am until 3pm – and we’re going to look into extending the hours.

“We’re also going to be branching out to do children’s parties, we’re available for meetings and we’ll open up of an evening – anything and everything.

“We do a full range of meals and we’re launching our new range of gourmet burgers, they’re the big burgers with all the different fillings.

“You don’t have to be catching a train to come here – we’ve now got a second door direct to the car park so you don’t have to come through the station.

“This is very exciting and I wouldn’t have done it without the fantastic support I’ve had from the family.

“Steve my husband has been one of my biggest supporters and because he’s an accountant he’s been able to give me lots of practical advice.

“We have five members of staff and they have been brilliant – they’ve all been with me since October last year.

“They’re here, they’re trained and they’re a cracking team. We’re also lucky that we have a lot of regular customers who are great.”

Among the regular customers is local AM Lesley Griffiths who was delighted to officially open the new bistro.

She said: “I opened the original cafe three years ago and then Dot went on her own and she’s done a fantastic job. Everybody talks about Dot2Dot.

“It’s great that she’s been able to expand and I am sure she will go from strength to strength.

“Dot and her family have worked really hard to get this place ready. I always call in for my cup of tea and bacon sandwich or sausage roll when I’m on my way  to Cardiff.

“It’s great to have this facility because it is an important service. It’s not just for train users – I often come here during the day and people pop in for a coffee before going into town to do their shopping.

“She’s extremely popular, she’s very bubbly and always makes you feel welcome and that you’re the centre of the universe.”

Fellow customer Mario Kreft, the proprietor of the Wrexham-based care organisation, Pendine Park, is another big fan.

He said: “Dot is a very special person. When you’re used to coming here to catch a train at 6am on a freezing cold morning, you get a really warm smile and a steaming hot cup of tea. What could be better?

“I just love Small and Medium Enterprises and Dot is meeting a community need. She’s got a huge personality and we wish her all the best in the future.”

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