A BURTONWOOD couple have fulfilled a dream of opening a business together after coming to the rescue of the old Box Works Social Club building.

Craig Cundliffe and his wife Jodie have launched Ace Club Cafe at the site in Evans House, Norman Street.

As well as a modern community café, the space has a newly renovated function room with a hall, dance floor and stage which is available for hire.

The couple have also converted Box Works’ old games room into an arcade and games console den for youngsters aged between four and 12 and are about to introduce ‘Kartcadia’, where there will be a track for electric fun karts.

Warrington Guardian:

Craig, a former Great Sankey High student, said: “The whole process has taken some very hard work, effort, determination, a limited budget and some blood, sweat and tears and help from family and friends to get where we are today.

“We hope that the people of Warrington like what we have done to the place and everyone is welcome to come and have a look at what we have achieved in such a small timeframe and limited budget.”

Craig previously worked for the Royal Mail and in telecoms while Jodie had a legal career in Manchester.

But they both had a background in bar work in their younger years – Craig at FX Bar and Friars Court and Jodie at White Hart – and for many years have been keen to find a route back into the hospitality industry together.

Warrington Guardian:

Craig added: “Over the past 10 to 15 years we have drafted around four or five business plans with the hope of someday opening something between us.

“We were set to open a café bar in Palmyra Square back in 2005 but that didn’t work out. We decided to leave it a few years and try and save up some more money then in 2009 my wife fell pregnant with our eldest son Bobbie which meant we had to put the plans on a back burner.

“All our children are now in school so we decided to revisit our business plans and we had been searching for around 18 months when we came across a Warrington Guardian article regarding the closure of the Box Works Social Club.

“Having previously been involved in charity events at the Box Works while employed by Royal Mail I knew that this was a good space for the types of business we had in mind.

Warrington Guardian:

“We deliberated over a few weeks working out how much it would cost to refurb the place and how long it would take and finally decided to bite the bullet and go for it. It has taken us a while but we have finally achieved a nice, clean bright space.”

The cafe offers cooked breakfast, hot drinks, light lunches such as toasties, paninis and jacket potatoes as well as burgers, hot dogs and pasta dishes.

READ MORE > Box Works social club at Evans House closes

And the independent business’s style takes its cue from Craig interests.

Craig, dad of three to Bobbie, nine, Jorgie, seven, and Mattie, five, said: “The logo was designed to give a nod to a few different things such as the RAF and all things that are good about Britain as well as various British bands that have had an influence on me over the years such as The Who, The Jam, The Kinks as well as the film Quadraphenia, the Mod scene, scooters and motorbikes in general.

Warrington Guardian:

“But it also reflects some of the events there used to be at the old Box Works club such as Northern Soul nights which attracted the scooter club riders of Warrington.

“Hopefully the scooter clubs will be making a visit in the not too distant future.”

The unit was set to be turned into a retail storage unit if it was not taken over.

Craig added: “We have saved it from vanishing and hope it will become a hub for Warrington people and workers to come and have a bite to eat while having a natter in a nice relaxed environment.”