For Huddersfield Giants fullback Ashton Golding the Coronavirus lockdown has been anything but quiet.
Not only was he busy continuing his rehab from a serious hamstring injury to get himself ready for a return to action when Super League gets back underway on Sunday, August 2, he was also putting the hours in and getting his hands dirty to ensure a long-held dream became a reality.
The 23-year-old is now the proud co-owner of Hãus of Coffee on Station Road in the Leeds district of Horsforth and business is already booming following its grand opening on Monday (July 20).
“Me and my business partner, Haaris Stockdale, have been friends from a young age and we would always sit and drink in a coffee shop and would talk about what it would be like if we owned our own and provided a service to a community,” Golding told totalrl.com
“The more I developed in my rugby career, the more money I was able to save and Haaris was always saving as well and we eventually had enough to secure the property.
“We did a lot of market research to find the right location and looking into the footfall so it has been quite a long process to get here.
“Horsforth does have a bit of a cafe culture without having many sit-in coffee shops and there are none on Station Road – a road with a train station at one end and a university (Leeds Trinity) at the other.
“We did a lot of the work ourselves to get opened, so it’s certainly kept me busy during the lockdown.
“When we first came into the building the floor needed levelling out, there was a suspended ceiling with live wiring above it. So there was a lot to do, but we’re pleased with where we have got it to.
“We were originally looking to open in April and I wasn’t originally going to be so hands-on. We had tradesmen lined up to do most of the work, but they all fell through because of Coronavirus.
“I had been working hard on my training and had a couple of weeks away from the shop, but I decided to turn the negative of the virus into a positive and put the hours in to get the work done myself and get it to a standard that would allow us to open when we were allowed to.
“We tended to get in at 7 am and not leave until one in the morning, five days a week and it tested our friendship at times. It was long days but we got through it.
“We still have things to do, but we’re open now and the first few days have gone well.
“To see the vision I had initially come to fruition and to see people coming in and enjoying themselves in our coffee house is really satisfying.”
With lockdown now easing, not only can Golding welcome customers into his coffee shop, but he has also returned to full-time training with both the Giants and amateur club Stanningley, for whom he is a coach.
There is plenty there to keep him busy, and Golding admits he wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Everything in Rugby League has been so uncertain in the last few months and I still have a young family to support,” added Golding.
“There was a point in this process that me and Haaris could have taken our money back, got out and survived with our familyies – damage limitation.
“But I didn’t want to look back and think ‘what if’ so we carried on. Rugby League things seem to be sorting themselves out now as well so it’s all worked out well.
“Now that we have got the shop open, even though I’m back training with Huddersfield and Stanningley as well, I actually have more free time now than I did in lockdown when we were getting it ready.
“But I like keeping busy and working – I can sleep when I’m dead.”
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