Gravesend accountants swap spreadsheets for sandwiches to open tea room

News Shopper: Owners Sharon Annis and Allison Pickering at Priscilla's Pantry. Picture by Gravesham Council Owners Sharon Annis and Allison Pickering at Priscilla's Pantry. Picture by Gravesham Council

A PAIR of accountants have fled the rat race to set up a vintage tea room in Gravesend.

It had been the dream of Chalk mum-of-one Sharon Annis, 43, to run a tea shop for more than a decade and now she has gone into business with her workmate and friend Allison Pickering, also 43.

Priscilla’s Pantry – a wonderland of pastel blues and pinks, flowers, table clothes and Cath Kidson-style crockery – officially opened on Friday (December 6).

Mum-of-two Allison said: “We were just fed up of the rat race and working for other people. We thought ‘you know what, we’re going to do it. We’re going to open our own business and see how it goes’.”

After around a year of discussing it, the friends bit the bullet and committed to the dream in February.

Finding a premises was the hardest part, Allison said, and they have relied on support from the council and businesses nearby, including Star Carpets who did their flooring and supplied a red carpet for the opening.

Instead of spreadsheets and sums, the pair now divide their labour between Allison’s freshly-baked cakes and Sharon’s sandwiches, with hard-to-find flavours like salt beef and pulled pork and local suppliers like Lean Meats Butchers in Gravesend.

Allison said: “We already have regulars so we’re very, very pleased.”

Sharon added: “The customers we have had have all come back so that’s really great.”

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