Quirky surroundings, distinctive décor and a sense of humour are top of the menu at the new outlet, which is the first in a unique new concept from the growing national franchise.
 
“We’re really excited to bring Mangobean to Darlington,” said Shane Saunders, ‘Head Honcho’ of the company. “Our coffee is of the highest quality, but we believe people should already expect that. We’re just as excited about the experience as we are the product, and with Mangobean people will be able to enjoy the occasion as much as our great-tasting coffee.”
 
The Mayor of Darlington, Coun Brian Jones and the Mayoress, Coun Doris Jones, were joined by singing star Zoe Birkett for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to open the doors of the new outlet.
 
“Although this is our eleventh opening in the country, this is the first of our exciting new ‘Stage three’ concept stores,” said Shane. “We’re the first coffee shop to actually have our own yellow brick road inside, not to mention we have themed pockets of seating in our love nest corner, coffee lover’s area and nerds corner, ‘The Study’. We’re really proud of the fact that we’re a non-stuffy brand.
 
“We want everyone, from bricklayers to politicians, to come in to escape what they’re doing for a quick coffee or to enjoy an hour’s lunch break,” he said.
 
Shane said another unique feature of the Feethams Mangobean was its on-site bean roaster. “We’ll actually be roasting the coffee ourselves – which comes from South America – right here,” he said. “This is the first concept of its kind in Europe, and will help us go a little further with our customer service.  We can make the coffee stronger or weaker to suit individual customer tastes depending on the roast of the beans we use.”
 
Shane said a team of 15 local employees has been recruited by franchise manager Abubokkar Siddique – known as Sidd – and a top chef has also been busily preparing some amazing snacks and treats to whet the appetite.
 
“One of the things we’re known for is our hugely popular coffee cocktails, which were actually inspired by my mum,” said Shane. “She felt intimidated and a bit uncomfortable in the homogeneous, stuffy high street coffee shops, so we wanted to lighten things up a bit. We came up with the Tracey Jane, named in her honour, which then led to us introducing other coffee cocktails such as the Nutty Irishman and the Ginger Ninja – which is named after my accountant.”
 
As well as offering a very different coffee experience, Shane said Mangobean was happy to give discounts to those they think deserved it. “We believe in being a part of the community we serve, which is why every NHS worker receives a discount at every one of our stores, and students also qualify for discounts,” he said. “In Darlington we’re also introducing our local superhero card, offering discounts to public sector workers like fire and police service workers.”
 
A customer loyalty scheme is also available, but in keeping with Mangobean’s irreverent approach it is known as ‘the bribery card.’
 
Mangobean was first established in 2005, when Shane was a wholesaler to coffee shops in the South. “After I’d helped set up about 200 coffee shops, I started to evolve the brand and think about opening my own store and before long we’d launched a franchise,” he said. “I’m keen that we should not take ourselves too seriously. For example, I love the idea of two burly builders coming into the shop for a break and tucking into their bacon sandwiches in our love nest area.” Darlington franchisee Zak Ahmed is the first development agent to work with the company, and plans to open 50 Mangobean outlets across the North East in the next 10 years.
 
Simon Hawkins, Development Director with Urban & Civic – the property development company behind Feethams – said he was excited that Mangobean was joining the new multi-million pound entertainment and leisure scheme.
 
“Their unconventional and fun approach is backed up with great tasting coffee, and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring this new concept store to the people of Darlington,” said Simon.
 
“This is a very exciting opening for us, and we’re sure once the town has sampled the atmosphere and food and drink on offer for themselves, they’ll be just as excited as we are.”
 
·  The new Mangobean is now open at Feethams Darlington, from 7am to 11pm Monday through Saturday, and from 9am until 9pm on Sundays. For more information including details of special offers, visit http://www.feethamsdarlington.co.uk
 
PIC CAPTION: Coffee time – Zoe Birkett (centre) joins Darlington Mayor Brian Jones and Mayoress Coun Doris Jones at the opening of Mangobean, Feethams

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