New high street cafe promises to give young people a place they can ‘hang out’

A Forres woman with a lifelong dream to create somewhere for young people to hang out has finally realised her dream by opening a cafe on Forres high street.

Claire Main opened The Dessert Shack on Monday this week (17 January 2022) and has had steady trade despite the shopfront sign not arriving in time!

Dessert Shack

Claire said: “I am currently serving desserts and fresh bakes. I have had several compliments on how good the coffee is which is great as I’ve only just learnt how to use the coffee machine.

“People are also happy to see a gluten-free choice. I have a basic breakfast menu, with toast, crumpets, butteries and pancakes. I do hope in time to offer light lunches, such as sandwiches and toasties, just simple things that won’t cost a fortune! 

She explained how it’s been her lifelong ambition: “As far back as I can remember I have always said if I had the money I would like to open somewhere for the kids.

“When my kids were growing up they hated me going for a coffee with family or friends as they got bored, and to be honest it wasn’t much fun for me trying to amuse them.

A place for youngsters

Claire said she specifically wants to create a place where youngsters can hang out and come off the streets.

“I read on Facebook often about them hanging about etc they have nothing or nowhere to go and I feel for them although this is not an excuse for them to cause trouble like they do sometimes.

“I feel if they had something to do or somewhere to go they wouldn’t cause so much hassle.”

She started planning last year and put the ideas past her husband and friends.

“I thought life is too short and to take risks when you can. I got input from my husband, family and closest friends, they gave me their ideas and I thought what’s the worst that can happen!”

Home comforts

The shop was formerly Sandra’s Home Comforts, and has been empty since Sandra Davidson moved her soft furnishings business along the high street. Before that, it was an electrical shop. Claire had to get planning permission for change of use and completely stripped the shop to create a large airy cafe and playroom.

There are toys and games for youngsters including a football table and Claire is looking to add pool and console games for older kids.

“The hardest part of it all was waiting for planning permission from the council it costs a fortune and takes forever. I am not surprised that businesses don’t last as the amount of things you have to do and pay out before you can open and start making money back is unreal. It’s actually quite scary.

“It was extremely hard work but I cannot thank everyone who helped me enough especially the ones I cried and moaned to when things were not going my way!”


Claire explained the sign for the front of the shop had been delayed but she didn’t want to wait any longer to open her doors.

“The sign was the last thing on my list to be honest and by the time it came to organising it the company had a waiting list – so I’m now waiting – but that’s ok I’m just glad to be open!” she said.

The Dessert Shack is open till 8pm, open to all ages, and the choice food on offer will increase over time.

“I hope to grow bigger and become well established. Upgrade on kids toys. I am waiting on ice cream freezer and more ice cream options as with summer coming soon this will be ideal!” she added.

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6 thoughts on “New high street cafe promises to give young people a place they can ‘hang out’”

  1. Wonderful initiative Sandra! Given it’s obviously been your lifelong ambition and that you have got so far with it, overcoming the awful obstacles of planning etc. I think it is destined to be a great experience for you. Keep well and keep safe. Judy Da Silva

  2. I remember the cafes in the late 50,s early 60,s, they were for the youngsters, and they were very popular. I hope today’s youngsters take full advantage of your fantastic thoughtfullness. (What about a juke box)?

  3. good on you quine this used to be w. lows when i went to school good to see it open again, all the best john a forres loon


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