WHAT started as a joke between two friends has been turned into business that could become a new social hub for the community.

Project Coffee has been launched by Adam Watkins and Ash Setareh, who work together at tech company ZPos.

Their idea took shape after Adam, from Cheney Manor, set up a mini coffee shop in their office and told Ash, who lives in Tadpole Garden Village, they could open up another branch.

Eleven months later and Project Coffee, in Tadpole Garden Village has welcomed its first customers through the door.

Adam said: “Tadpole Garden Village is a community and we want people to come in and enjoy the environment rather than it being very transactional like the big chains where you go in and quickly come out – we don’t want that.”

“We want regulars to come in and enjoy the atmosphere and experience as we are more pricey than town.”

He explained: “This area is popular so we sat together over a whisky and thought this could really work and it’s a really nice thing to bring to the town.”

“We’re trying to make it look like a chain from the start as the plan is to open more than one but we’re an independent shop. We have a slightly different bean choice and our main produce has the same ethos of high-class coffee to go.”

The pair are importing coffee beans from Melbourne in Australia and have picked homemade produce from the area for their pastries and bakery selection.

They have chosen homely decor with a lot of with greenery and low-level lighting are to create a relaxed atmosphere.

Adam said: “We wanted something people wouldn’t have at home and turned it into a fun place. I don’t even care if people hate it because it’s a bit different.”

“We have Duncan as the manager and we want to invest in our staff so they can build a career here and hopefully not just stay a few months.”

They are looking at potentially opening another shop in west Swindon if the venture is a success.

“But seeing the concept turn real and walking in from drawings on a mood board to a real-life shop has been the best bit,” Adam added.

“I’m not doing it for the money, it’s more of a hobby. We have given it our all and if it works - great but if it doesn’t we have enjoyed the ride, it has been amazing.”