Tasty treats in store as new leisure centre café launches at Howe Bridge
L-R: Councillor Chris Ready, Café Iris managing director Colette Alexander and Howe Bridge Leisure Centre manager Christopher Rimmer
A fantastic new family-run café has opened its doors at Howe Bridge Leisure Centre in Atherton.
Café Iris is the latest venture launched by local woman Colette Alexander, the entrepreneur behind the popular Alexanders Coffee Shop and Luisco Chocolate at Haigh Woodland Park.
It will be open seven days a week serving hot drinks, breakfasts, lunches and a wide range of healthy snacks and delicious treats.
Councillor Chris Ready, portfolio holder for communities at Wigan Council, said: “We know people have been excited about the opening of our new café for a while now and I’m sure everyone who comes here will absolutely love it!
“Colette and her team have a track record of delivering great service for customers and share our passion for the local community.
“Whether you’re looking to relax after a swim or a trip to the gym, meeting friends for a chat and a bite to eat or taking the kids to soft play, Café Iris is the perfect place - with fabulous food and drink, and a warm, friendly atmosphere guaranteed.”
As with her two other businesses, Café Iris draws inspiration from Colette’s family. The Wigan-born mum-of-two, who named her first business Luisco Chocolate after sons Luca, 10, and Isaac, 8, explained: “The name Café Iris is a nod to my dad who passed away really suddenly a few months ago.
“Whenever me and my little boys see a rainbow we always say it’s from grandad - and Iris is the Greek goddess of rainbows. My grandma’s favourite flower was the Iris too, so that’s why the logo is the goddess with an Iris in her hair.
“Café Iris is a different challenge from my other businesses, a new customer base, and I’m really excited to see how it goes.
“We’ve got our core café menu with breakfasts, jacket potatoes, paninis and a children’s menu, and we’ll also have a fitness focus with protein boxes, protein shakes and meal preps for when people are finished in the gym and just want to grab something to take home.”
As well as catering for Leisure Centre customers, Colette wants the wheelchair-friendly venue to be a focal point for the local community - with Chatty Café tables to combat social isolation and a community bookcase already part of her plans.
Colette explained: “I’ve sort of come from nothing. I grew up on a council estate with my mum and worked my way up. I’ve struggled and I’ve seen friends and family struggle, so I always like to help people where I can because I know how hard life can be.
“I think people really warm to us because we’re a small business who really love our customers and get to know them. We’ve got regulars and we get to know all about their kids, their life, their work. We’re like a support network for people and we love that.”
Café Iris is open 9am-8pm Monday to Friday and 8am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Howe Bridge Leisure Centre is one of seven Be Well leisure centres across Wigan Borough, owned and operated by Wigan Council.
New customers can currently get two months half price on a Be Well membership. Discover more at Be Well.
Posted on Friday 6th January 2023