You can’t help but have noticed that your favourite bookshop is going through something of a make-over.

Way back in November, we parted company with the cafe. Our reasons were quite sound. It came to our attention that the Health & Safety Executive had made a quite detailed notice to the tenants to clean up their operation after we had already asked repeatedly for this to be done. They did not. To protect our customers, we closed down the cafe.

However, the cafe has been a feature of the bookshop since we opened in Worthing 11 years ago and we have listened to every single person who asked: ‘When are you getting the cafe back?’

The answer is Saturday, 9th June.

We have listened to a number of approaches and suggestions and decided to work with a young group of people calling themselves The Gaia Cafe. Their bid distinguished itself on a number of fronts. Firstly, they saw that a number of our customers were concerned with ethical, environmental and Fair Trade issues and felt that our bookshop shared those values. Second, they wished to make use of all the great farms and suppliers around us. The Gaia Cafe will source as much of the food as possible from farms in Sussex and Surrey (including, we hope in the near future, wines and beers). Third, they wished to help further integrate the bookshop into the local community and as a number of the group are already involved in local charities and politics, the family at Methvens can only grow.

Coffee lovers in Worthing will be very pleased to hear that in partnership with The Gaia Cafe, we have also invested in the very best coffee machine that money can buy – the best, in fact, in Worthing (despite the presence of both a Nero’s and a Costa). The coffee used will be sourced from Union Coffee Masters who – according to recent press articles – have done so much to help build shattered communities in Rwanda.

It has been hard work. The bookshop still looks a mess but last night, Jen, Mark, Sarah (our book buyer) and myself stayed up past 10.30pm – after a full working day – moving the whole of the first floor around. We did this for a number of reasons not the least of which is that over time, some sections gain in popularity and need more space (while some become less popular as fashions – and local interest – change) and that the cafe will need more space. We also encountered difficulty in moving everything around for the theatre. The most important reason, however, was that a number of customers had asked why certain sections were not together. It really does make sense to put gardening, cookery, DIY and crafts all together.

We do listen and we hope – in time – that you come to like the changes as much as we do. The early signs are encouraging as a number of regular customers immediately took to the change.

Coming soon will be a busier event schedule.