Ian Luff, who runs the popular Dropoff Café at Glyncorrwg mountain bike centre in south Wales, is leaving to focus on his mobile bus-based catering business. The move follows extended wrangling with the Glyncorrwg Ponds Co-Operative, who run the site.
The café's future had been in doubt since Ian lost the tender to run it last autumn. He was asked to leave the premises on 24 December 2009 but began a legal fight to stay on, arguing that he'd been treated unjustly because during the five years he'd been there he'd helped make the Afan Forest Park centre a success.
However, today Ian told us he'd "thrown in the towel". It isn't yet clear who'll take over the running of the café when he leaves next Wednesday (15 December), or what will happen to the staff. When approached by BikeRadar this morning, the Glyncorrwg Ponds Co-Operative declined to comment on Ian's departure. On-site bike shop Skyline Cycles won the tender to run the café last autumn. Staff there said they were still interested in running the business but they didn't know what the legal situation was.
Ian announced his departure in a press release today, in which he wished "the best of luck to whoever is taking over". He said: "One year on and we all thought we'd be fairly settled back into what was to be a great future. The dust would have settled over the wranglings of this time last year. But no, the Glyncorrwg centre will no more be the choice destination for pre/post-ride grub. The Dropoff Café is moving on.
"This wasn't a decision made lightly. The Dropoff tried as hard as possible to stay but the Glyncorrwg Ponds Co-op were determined to progress with their original plan. The Dropoff would like to send a big thank you to all its faithful customers for their support over the six years we've been trading."
As for the future, Ian said that the double decker bus café he launched last autumn is now a permanent weekend fixture at Brechfa trail centre in west Wales, and there's a new addition to the fleet: the 'Dropoff in Motion'.
"This single-deck, vintage Leyland Leopard has been beautifully converted to the highest of standards for the mobile catering market," said Ian. "It features the staple Dropoff Café favourites but also sports a cocktail bar! It can sit up to 20 people and also features an outdoor decking area in the summer that can sit up to 40."
The new bus has its original livery but can be 'dressed' to suit any occasion or theme. Both vehicles are available for private hire. For details, call Ian on 07815 202012 or visit www.dropoffcafe.com.
The news about the Dropoff comes just a day after we revealed Emma Guy and Tracey Brunger of The Hub at Glentress had lost out in a similar tender process and will have to close their doors in early 2012. They too had contributed to the success of the trail centre over many years. In their case, it was an independent panel appointed by the Forestry Commission who made the decision.