Keeping it local is at the heart of the railway arch coffee business founded by Shan Miah

Having grown up in Brixton Hill, Arcade Coffee & Co founder Shan Miah always wanted to open a business in his local area. Arcade Coffee & Co was born out of a passion project, honed from walking past the arch space almost every day for years. After working in the City as an IT Auditor for eight years, Shan really wanted to pursue something he felt enthusiastic about – which was creating good quality coffee.

Shan says, “I was actually a customer at the kiosk that existed in the arch before I took it over and saw the incredible potential the space had, that wasn’t being tapped into. After growing another local business down the road, I was ready to create something within this unique space, and I’m so glad I did”.

After acquiring the lease, Shan wanted to reinvent the arch – expanding it out to include seating, and updating the space so it was modern, fresh and inviting. The industrial feel nodded to the heritage of the railway arches, which Shan purposefully wanted to dial up, as the arch’s quirky shape was something he was drawn to. The design is perfectly aligned with his concept for the business, “Whilst the space is small, I think coffee is something to be enjoyed on the go, so having a large footprint wasn’t a requirement for me. My priority is to serve great coffee and to do so, we sought to make everything as local as possible – our coffee is roasted down the road by Press, we engage with our neighbouring arches, and we’re working on hiring young people to train them as baristas.”

The timing of the business launching – at the start of 2020 – meant that it hasn’t been the easiest experience for Shan. “It was incredible worrying in the first lockdown as to how we were going to survive. The Arch Company’s Hardship Fund – and the ability to suspend our rental payments for three months – was an absolute lifeline. Luckily for us, Herne Hill also has a really strong neighbourhood network, so Arcade Coffee & Co has felt supported by our community throughout the pandemic. I feel really grateful that we’ve been in this position, and I believe it’s because of our unique location and incredible network of customers that we have been a success story.”

Feeling hopeful as he looks to the future, Shan is eager to remain within the community – and has his sights set on creating another business nearby.

Arcade Coffee & Co, Herne Hill Station, 276 Milkwood Road, London