Merchants House Cafe: Popular Kirkcaldy eaterie celebrates first year in town

A popular Kirkcaldy coffee shop is set to toast its first anniversary in the town.

By Debbie Clarke
Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 2:49 pm

Merchants House Cafe, which opened on October 31 last year, is located in one of the shop units within the 16th century A-listed Merchant’s House in Laws Close.

Ricky Barclay and his wife Marzena are looking forward to marking their first year of trading in their new cafe this Sunday on Hallowe’en.

To mark their first birthday they will be having live music from Kinghorn-based singer-songwriter Julia – who made her television debut on The Voice UK earlier this year. She will perform at Merchants House Cafe from 2.00 to 3.30pm this Sunday.

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Ricky and Marzena are having a special celebration event to mark the cafe's first birthday. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

Ricky and Marzena will also be giving their customers the chance to win prizes, with some surprises in store, at the special celebration event.

It was a dream come true for Marzena when she opened her own coffee shop in 2020 – it was something she had wanted for 20 years.

And while the couple admit it was a huge risk to open their new business during the Covid pandemic, they said the gamble has paid off.

Ricky said: “Our first year of trading has been amazing and at times very challenging, but exceeded our expectations.

Ricky Barclay with his wife Marzena and daughter Hanna. Ricky and Marzena opened the Merchants House Cafe a year ago this weekend. Pic: Fife Photo Agency.

"It was a huge risk to take opening during a pandemic but it was something that we needed to do. If we didn’t do it at that time, then it probably would never have happened.”

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It hasn’t been without its challenges though particularly when the couple had to close when the country went into a second lockdown last winter.

Marzena said: “It happened after two months of being open so we hadn't really had a chance to establish ourselves.

"We had to decide whether to close or to try to change the business around to do take- away only,” she explained.

"We knew we were not going to give up and so we decided to stay open seven days throughout the lockdown even if this wouldn’t be successful.

"But after a few difficult weeks, it paid off. We were told by so many people that they really appreciated that we were open. People needed something to cheer them up during lockdown and I think cake and coffee helped!”

The couple said their customer base has grown over the last year and they now have many regulars – and hey have also made many new friends.

Ricky said: “We are getting new customers every day, which is fantastic.

“Our plans for the future are to keep improving and learning. We love what we have and we want to make it the best we can for our customers.

“Our first year has been amazing because of the support we have had from local people and local businesses. We are happy that we have made it through the challenges of the last year and we will continue through the next challenges that come our way.”

The couple added: “We have a fantastic team and we couldn’t have got through the last year without them.”

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