A business owner has revealed why his love of the Lord Street boulevard led him to opening a stylish new restaurant and bar in Southport.
Nagender Chindam has recently opened Skylight, at 459 Lord Street, opposite Sainsbury’s supermarket.
The venue specialises in speciality coffee, cakes and delicious snacks, while work takes place to open a brand new restaurant and cocktail bar.
The formerly vacant unit has been transformed with the help of Clayton Architecture and other local firms.
Nagender said: “I love Southport, and Lord Street is amazing!
“It’s beautiful – the most amazing street in the UK. Lord Street has stunning architecture, and so many great buildings!”
Nagender has worked as an IT consultant, with 20 years experience. But during the Covid-19 lockdown he decided on a change of career.
He said: “Instead of sitting idle at home, I wanted to get Skylight open. We got a great team together and within four or five weeks we got this palace up and running. It was all thanks to the support of people and workers in Southport. If this was anywhere else, we could not have done this.”
Clayton Architecture has led the redesign of the building which has created a more welcoming frontage and a much more pleasant environment for customers, with its famed skylight bringing light into the building.
Clayton Architecture Director Joe Clayton said: “I can definitely say I was impressed with the quality of the coffee! And when the restaurant space opens up I think people will be amazed at what has been achieved.
“I can’t wait to see the end product up and running.”
Nagender said: “We are starting out with our coffee shop part of the business. We have brought in the very best coffee machine and our staff are very well trained.
“We are really focussing on offering fantastic customer service with nice events, great food and drinks, with top hygiene. We are in the process of finishing the cocktail and restaurant at the moment. That is where our skylight is. We hope they will be open soon.
“We are aiming to install a TV, and are looking to host live music, encouraging local artists. Every week we will look to host some kind of event. Things are going very well. So far customers who have been coming in have been saying we have the best coffee in the area. The feedback has been great. We are concentrating on serving great coffee and cake at the moment. Visitors are welcome to try our lattes, cappuccinos and other speciality coffees made by our trained baristas.
“We have been very busy since we opened. Out outdoor seating has been really popular, it’s a great place to sit outside.”
Nagender has owned the property since last year. Working with Southport-based architects Clayton Architecture, he has transformed two apartments on the upper floors of the building. But after the previous commercial tenants vacated the premises, the commercial part of the building was empty. Then the Coronavirus pandemic struck.
Nagender said: “Because of the Coronavirus outbreak, no-one was coming in to take on the commercial opportunity, and it remained empty.
“So I thought of the idea of opening a top quality coffee shop, restaurant and cocktail bar. This is a completely new, start-up business.
“We currently have four employees, including two baristas. If this business carries on being successful as we open our restaurant and cocktail bar then I will be recruiting five more members of staff, taking us up to nine employees.
“I am happy because I am able to provide employment for people in Southport. It is good to be able to give something back to this town. We are doing something positive as a business. We are currently working on the restaurant and cocktail bar, and developing our menu. My initial thought was to provide a vegan menu, but we are now looking to create something that offers options for everyone. If the restaurant takes off like our coffee shop has then I will be over the moon, especially starting out during these times during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Nagender is originally from Leicester but has fallen in love with Southport, and with Lord Street in particular.
The Skylight Southport building is a real hidden gem.
He said: “The workers I have met on this project have been the best people on my professional journey. When you come inside the building, the skylight is absolutely beautiful.
“The Victorian architecture inside is really lovely.
“Joe Clayton from Clayton Architecture has done a wonderful job. Joe has been fantastic in putting forward planning applications and moving forward together.
“Before he came in, the frontage was too narrow, and dark. Thanks to his design we have a really nice frontage now. We have been trying to make it lighter inside so people walking past from Lord Street can look in and see there is a really great place inside.
“I am really hoping this will be successful. I know we are starting out during challenging times but I am hoping that by Christmas we will have really built our reputation and will be doing well.”
Skylight is open Monday to Sunday between 9am and 5pm.