DRINKING coffee and browsing vinyl records were two of Aaron Blandford and Sam Sheldon’s favourite things to do.

So when it came to launching their own business, they decided to combine them.

Riptide Espresso and Records has quickly become very popular and has been part of a revival at the Quay end of Poole High Street.

“We were thinking about where we’d want to hang out and it was coffee and record shops,” Aaron says.

“We thought it would be good to get a coffee and sit and look at records.”

The business was launched at a challenging time – just after the first Covid lockdown. But it quickly became a favourite destination.

“It turns out people just wanted to do what we wanted to do,” says Aaron.

The business is at Grand Parade on the High Street, near Scaplen’s Court museum. The whole area benefited from the pedestrianisation of the old part of the High Street during the Covid crisis – a measure which is set to be repeated every summer.

“The road was shut to traffic so that meant we could have our seating outside. With the other restaurants doing it as well, it transformed the whole street into this cafe culture area,” says Aaron.

“Speaking to people who’ve lived here a long time, they’ve never experienced it like that.

“It’s been a real boost, not just for us but everyone down this street. Poole has become better over the last year.”

The cafe serves a full range of hot drinks, including coffee from beans provided by Carve Coffee Roasters in Swanage. There are vegan milkshakes and smoothies – and any of the coffees can be ordered in an iced version.

The food includes a range of bagels, from bacon avocado to teriyaki tofu. Toppings on sourdough toast range from avocado, hummus, radish and pea shoots to halloumi, chilli and avocado. And there are sourdough toasties, from Dorset ham and cheese to a vegan “not tuna” melt or vegan “pulled pork”.

The vegan options have turned out to be a particular draw.

“We’ve found that a lot of people wo come in are vegan or vegetarian so we catered the menu for that,” says Sam.

“When we first opened, I didn’t think food would be too big but it’s got more and more popular as we’ve gone along.”

Also popular are brownies made by Amanda Cordrey’s local business Soco Brownie Studio.

The venue was recently granted an alcohol licence, enabling it to serve cocktails and plan a series of evening events, including DJ nights.

The records for sale are mainly new alternative, indie rock bands, with some second hand drum and bass too.

Sam is a former Echo photographer who has also worked for a social media agency and her photos have helped the business build a big following online, especially on Instagram.

The work of Emma Macklin from local business Me & You Studio has helped. “She has done all of our branding, which I think has really helped with promoting our shop. We had some T-shirts made with our logos on and they all sold out,” says Sam.

Riptide Espresso and Records is 2 Grand Parade, Poole High Street, and on social media, @riptideespresso.