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Ex-Steelman Gavin Horton is on a quest - for the perfect cup of coffee.

The former quality control man for Tata Steel - and self-confessed perfectionist - has set up Horton’s Coffee House on Millennium Walk in Newport city centre with support from Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise. A total of £200,000 has been raised to launch the venture.  

And when it comes to coffee making equipment he has bought the best - an Italian La Marzocco espresso machine with “added extras”, of which there are just a few in the UK.  

“My work with Tata Steel was to check and double check everything, and that is the approach I am bringing to the new business. I want my coffee to be as near to perfection as it can be.”  

He feels that Newport has less than its fair share of artisan coffee establishments, and he says Horton’s Coffee House will aim to raise the bar when it comes to quality.  

He has purchased his premises on the Millennium Walk near the Newport City Footbridge, and feels the area has enormous potential. “It is a relatively new area in development terms, already with a large footfall. It is an important route for cyclists, too.   

“I have also decided to be dog friendly, as a dog owner myself I know how difficult it can be to find a nice place that will let you bring your dog in from the cold.”  

Horton’s Coffee House, and other businesses nearby, are working together to promote the area and attract customers across the bridge from the city centre.  

Gavin started with British Steel at Llanwern in 1995 as a technical apprentice. His 20-year career also took him to Port Talbot where he became a Section Manager for the Arisings department, working on quality control and technical improvement.  

He left the steel industry earlier this year, and was cycling along Millennium Walk with his family when he spotted the premises. “I had had a great career in the steel industry, and it gave me many skills to help establish my new business. When I saw this I thought it would be an excellent location for a high quality coffee establishment,” he said.  

Gavin’s background is certain to stand him in good stead for the challenge ahead. “I have a technical approach to everything and wanted to make and sell the best coffee I could.  

“I am a perfectionist - and I am aiming for the perfect cup of coffee,” he added.  

Gavin’s business plan was supported by Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise, as well as Business in Focus who each supported the business to obtain a loan of £25,000 to help get the coffee shop off the ground. Business in Focus, as a Start Up Loan delivery partner, assisted Gavin to access funds from the Start Up Loan Company. Other funding means that a total of £200,000 has been invested in the venture.  

“I am very grateful for the funding, without which it would have been very difficult to get the project up and running,” added Gavin.  

Glyn Thomas Area Manager in Wales for UK Steel Enterprise said: “We are delighted to be supporting Horton’s Coffee House, and especially pleased that we are able to help a former employee of Tata Steel. We wish him every success in his venture.”  

Craig Tamplin of Business in Focus added: “Horton’s Coffee House is strategically located in a developing area of the city, and, coupled with the emphasis on quality, we are confident the business has a bright future. It has been a pleasure to work with Gavin providing business advice and helping him access financial support.”

Photo Caption: Aiming for perfection: Gavin Horton and Glyn Thomas of UK Steel Enterprise (seated).