Whilst the transition of popular indie coffee shop, tsp, into The Marzipan Pig has been well received overall, I as a faithful patron of the former, was sceptical regarding the up-cycle re-brand.
Gone were most of the chairs and tables, along with an expansive menu and glass case of delectable looking confectionery. The menu was replaced, instead with a more simplistic approach focusing on core selling drinks and an absence of food. Familiar seating areas have been replaced by shelves and benches overflowing with trinkets, home-ware and a closed door to an illusive upper level.
To me, this was an unfamiliar place to where I’d fallen in love with years prior.
When I stepped foot inside, I couldn’t help but compare it to revisiting a childhood home and finding out that unsurprisingly, it had been redecorated.
Slightly dramatic I know, but for me tsp had been a refuge for those stressful days. It was a place to go to clear my head, and a perfect environment for one of those days that you simply needed an uninterrupted catch up sesh.
In my eyes, tsp was the Stoke equivalent of Riverdale’s ‘Pop’s’ (based on the Archie comics), somewhere you can order your “regular” and be surrounded by those you’ve shared this little piece of you with. It’s a place of refuge when, by Wednesday, the week has gotten too much. It’s a place on the odd occasion I’d write my articles and a place I took my boyfriend when I was trying to introduce him to coffee. Although that pursuit was unsuccessful, and the closest we got was a mocha, this place still held so many memories.
Memories of iced fruit tea with honey sat amongst friends in the summer, mini donut topped cupshakes whilst on a date and deliciously warming hot drinks topped with a mountain of marshmallow in the winter, like a personal hug in a mug.
Seasons change as does the company, and although many of those things for the most part are gone, I don’t mourn their loss.
This year is one of growth, not compromise, but acceptance and The Marzipan Pig somewhat feels like a metaphor for that too.
Whilst chatting to barista Michael Shelbow, he bestowed an astute observation which definitely caused me to have a revelation.
“It’s not being fixed, its evolving”
Furthering this with: “Evolution. It’s what we have to do, and its evolved into something fantastic and unique.”
As a third year student, change is becoming something that I’m becoming painfully accustomed to. However, things can prove to be beautiful when you give them a chance. I’ve definitely learnt that in the past year, and I feel that I very much needed to be reminded of that.
My best suggestion for those, like me, who were doubtful of giving The Marzipan Pig a chance would be the age-old advice of: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” You’d still buy Harry Potter if it had a different image on the cover, so I’d suggest holding this re-brand in the same regard.
Although it may seem unfamiliar at first, I promise you that it’s the same friendly staff, the same great quality of coffee, and the same welcoming environment. Some things might have changed, but at its heart, The Marzipan Pig is still as full of character as it ever was, and it’s definitely worth giving a chance.