On March 9th at the Park Inn in Bedford Emma Garrett was crowned Bedfordshire
BusinessWoman of the Year by HM Lord Lieutenant, Helen Nellis. It was a fitting tribute to
this wonderwoman who has definitely made her mark on Bedford even though she has
lived in the town for just a decade.
A Jersey-girl at heart, Emma has lived in places as far from the channel island as Warwick
where she studied English and Theatre at University, Lisburn in Northern Ireland,
Newcastle, The Gold Coast of Australia and Bahrain in the Middle East.
She agrees that her transient life has given her a wealth of experience on which to draw:
“In Lisburn I worked in a deli, in Newcastle for a TV production Company in Australia at Griffith
University and in Bahrain as part of a team running cultural events, fundraising for local
charities. “I’ve travelled extensively and even spent time working at The Sydney Opera
House in Australia which was probably the city where the cafe culture really got under my
skin, leading me to where I am now” says Emma.
Emma has been successfully running The Pavilion at the Park Cafe in Bedford for 4 years, and its predecessor The Kiosk at the Park
in Russell Park since 2012 “The variety of fresh produce, which was used imaginatively and resourcefully throughout Australia was new to me – even a sandwich took on a new lease of life with focaccia bread and ingredients like halloumi and quinoa which were
unheard of in those days.
Not only that but the service was incredible, with people who clearly loved what they did and just wanted you to love it to.”
Fortunately for Bedford, Emma landed here with her husband Richard and five children in
2008 and left a marketing role locally to set up The Kiosk, one of the first of our
independent, community focussed cafes which now include, amongst others, Coffee with
Art, The Longholme Cafe, Fay’s at Riverside and Emma’s other brainchild The Pavilion at
the Park in Bedford Park.
As Bridget Harris, Bedford-based businesswoman and CEO of YouCanBook.Me points out “Emma’s vision really set the standard for cafes in Bedford and we have so much to be grateful to her for.”
Emma continues “Life has not been easy and we have our fair share of challenges to
contend with along the way but Bedford is a great place to bring up a family and businesswise
it was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time.
It is not hard to thrive in such a community-focussed town where there are plenty of inspirational people
doing astounding things. In fact, any number of women deserve the title BusinessWoman
of the Year, including of course, Erica Roffe, who has really lifted the town’s reputation.
Working with people like Erica is brilliant and their energy and enthusiasm is catching – it
feels to me like Bedford will continue to go from strength to strength”.
Not content with running two successful award-winning cafes, Emma also runs a Social
Media Business and set up the charity fundraiser ‘SoupFest’ in December 2017 raising much
needed funds for the homeless in Bedford. Local blogger Issy Belle @IssyBelleFox tweeted
at the time “One of things I love about Bedford is its enthusiasm, it notices an increase in
a problem (like homelessness) and immediately tries to do something about it rather than
just moan. SoupFest was a brilliant idea and had people all over the town raising money
With the support of the Mayor and the Lord Lieutenant this fundraiser certainly captured the imagination of the locals and over £1000 has already been handed out to local homeless projects. Emma came Runner Up in the Silver Heart Category of the Awards in recognition of her work on this initiative.
So what next for Emma? “I intend to use my new-found ‘fame’ to open a few doors, rattle
a few cages and get a whole lot more done! It is an incredible honour to be
BusinessWoman of the Year and I will ensure that I make the most of every minute of it.’
Something tells us this is a woman on a mission, watch out Bedford, here she comes.
Emma Garrett: 07970 284823
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs of the BBW Awards ceremony were taken by Noel www.noel.photography