A COUPLE who ditched the London commute to set up a railway station coffee stall are now mixing it with worldwide brands after setting up a new venture.

Ali and Becca Hood are now operating a grab-and-go food business in Braintree Village called Bagel Baby.

The venture is the couple’s second together and was launched following the success of their first company – Roo’s Coffee.

Ali, a former British Museum worker, said: “We set up Roo’s three years ago because we wanted to do something different from commuting all the time.

“It was named after our first child, Roo, and initially we tried running it outside Chelmsford Station.

“We thought there was a gap in the market for high quality and ethical coffee. It’s easy to get that kind of thing in London but there is nowhere really in Essex.

“It didn’t really work in Chelmsford, mainly because of the location, so we ended up moving to Colchester Station and it really took off from there.”

The success of the small stall in Colchester saw the duo, who are both 36, create a second branch of Roo’s in Braintree Village in 2018.

The stalls’ increasing popularity then led to the entrepreneurs to consider launching a second business and their inspiration for Baby Bagel came from an unlikely source.

“I think we chose bagels because Becca had a real craving for them when she was pregnant with our second daughter, Bonnie,” said Ali.

“We decided to name it Bagel Baby after her and to keep up the tradition we’ve got going.

“It’s quite fitting we’ve got these businesses because Becca and I were always meeting up together in London on our breaks to have a coffee and bagel.

“It’s going to be tricky running two businesses alongside a three-year-old and four-month baby. Becca does a lot of the admin side, staffing and accounts, which allows me to be in Braintree Village most days.”

Despite the added pressure of a new-born and new business, Ali says he is confident the new bagel company will prove to be a big hit in Braintree.

Following its launch on Monday, he says he is confident the firm will fit in nicely alongside the world-renowned brands based at the outlet.

He added: “We’ve been in Braintree Village for a while now and always had a good response from the community. We’re excited and proud to be working alongside the big names and have had a lot of support from the outlet who want to help smaller, independent businesses.”

“We had a soft-launch of Bagel Baby this week because we’re still waiting for a few more deliveries. But the feedback we have had so far has been really positive and there’s been a good response on social media.

“I’m really confident it’ll be a success and will be popular with the people of Braintree.”

Bagel Baby offers a range of deli bagels, all made to order using fresh ingredients, and shoppers can chosen breakfast, launch or gluten-free options.

The business is open Monday – Sunday from 10am-6pm.