From police boxes to barge as coffee vendor expands

Edinburgh coffee vendor The Counter, which serves customers from three converted police boxes across the city, has opened its latest outpost on a canal barge in Fountainbridge.

Ali and Sally McFarlane said they saw the barge for sale last year and just fell in love with it. Picture: Contributed

The business is run by husband and wife team Ali and Sally McFarlane, who saw the vessel for sale last year “and just fell in love with it”.

Ali McFarlane said that while the new site has been up and running for just a few days, the response has already been “really positive”.

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The latest venture has brought the business’s headcount to six, and adds to its existing sites at the Usher Hall, Tollcross and Morningside.

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McFarlane said that further expansion was likely but as his wife was due to give birth any day, there was likely to be “a pause on opening up anything for the moment”.

The company has also been publicised to viewers of Sky Sports, Sky News and Comedy Central after winning a competition with payments firm iZettle, which the firm uses for transactions at all of its sites.

iZettle gave small businesses the chance for 15 seconds of fame with an advert running to that length. McFarlane said: “For a small business it was just absolutely amazing.”