Tara Knight had always had a taste for good speciality coffee.
And in the space of 18 months she went from becoming frustrated with not being able to find her favourite blends, to opening her own coffee shop, employing 12 people.
The 33-year-old’s Southsea Coffee Company, on Osborne Road, Southsea, has been trading for six months and is so successful it secured her the Woman to Watch gong at the recent Woman of the Year Awards.
She wasn’t able to be there to pick up the award but, speaking afterwards, she said: ‘I was very shocked to find out I’d won the Woman to Watch and I’m super thrilled.
‘I’m very excited.
‘We’ve been open six months. It’s been a long journey to get here, but now we’re here we’re becoming more and more established.’
Tara’s background is in hospitality and she has worked at Rosie’s Vineyard and A Bar, in Old Portsmouth. She took time out to complete an art degree and have a baby and she embraces both of those things at the coffee shop.
A huge wall is dedicated to a changing canvas of local artists. And all sorts of groups are welcome to use the snug at the back of the shop for meetings.
There is even a space for children to play with toys.
Tara is hugely knowledgeable about where the coffee beans come from and they have a wide range of specialist filter and espresso coffees on offer.
She was nominated by Sara Pilbeam who said: ‘Tara is following her vision of creating an independent coffee shop to challenge the chains.’
Other nominees in the Woman to Watch category were Hannah Riches from Globe Fit, Kris Pryer from Make Sense, Hilary Channing from Luxe Accessories and Kim Millar of Relationship Training. Kathy Fitchett, of Food Fiend, who was highly commended.