'This free coffee is so good I must pay'
COFFEE drinkers insisting to pay for their free samples at Shepton Mallet's new coffee shop have driven its owners to open up early.
My Coffee Stop, in Shepton High Street, is Karen Mercer and Gunther Hollenstein's second branch of an award-winning business.
Their new coffee machine arrived last Thursday, but as the couple tried to hand out free coffee they were surprised with tasters insisting on paying.
Ms Mercer said: "We wanted to let people try the coffee and talk about how nice it tastes but people kept wanting to pay. I was saying no, no, but they said they wanted to support the local business.
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"I tried again on Friday to give the free coffee, getting people off the street who wouldn't have come in, but they paid for it so after that happened several times we decided to just be open."
Ms Mercer and Mr Hollenstein believe in keeping things local, and have furnished their shop with items from the community.
Ms Mercer said: "Everything grows with love and this is like a new sustainable concept in business.
"Our sofa is from a local man, the carpet was donated, the coffee machine's second hand.
"We relay money into local business like a circular economy."
Chocolate week at My Coffee Stop starts on October 14, and the shop will be giving free tasters of chocolate brownies and Divine chocolate.
There will also be a book swap to raise money for Shepton Mallet Tourist Information Centre to help towards new computer equipment.
My Coffee Stop first opened on Platform 1, Enfield train station, in February 2009 and since then has scooped several awards, including being the winner of Enterprise Enfield's Green Business of the Year and the North and West London Business Awards for Innovation.