De Melo, based on Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough had a flying start in July 2015 when, to satisfy the sugar cravings of Teesside residents, husband and wife team Imran and Nadia Ayoub opened the city's newest café and dessert emporium.
De Melo is not just any high street café, the contemporary artisan bakery offers a bistro style service to customers looking for sweet treats, no matter what the time of day.
Imran, a former journalist and taxi driver came up with the idea for De Melo's when his love for his wife's deliciously baked goods made him seek out locations for a possible café when driving taxi routes throughout Middlesborough.
Imran said: "We first came up with the idea for De Melo's over a year ago so in reality it has taken around 15 months from conception to business launch.
"We wanted to create a coffee shop that offered an antidote to all of the high street chains where homemade desserts sit alongside truly great tasting coffee, in addition to towering ice cream sundaes and tasty chocolate covered waffles.
"We are open from 8am till 11pm which means we serve a breakfast, lunch, afternoon, dinner time and late evening crowd wanting a little bit of everything no matter what time of day.
"Our American style desserts certainly keep us busy after 6pm with students on the hunt for something to satisfy their sweet tooth and celebrating special occasions with families by ordering the biggest and best ice cream sundae we have on the menu to share."
Imran worked with TEDCO Business Support via their Start and Grow programme to help get the business off the ground.
The start up support agency provided Imran with a personal business advisor who worked on a one-to-one basis with Imran and Nadia, helping to take the business from concept, to the planning stage, through to funding and launch.
Imran added: "Start and Grow is a really great programme as it meant that I was helped from the very beginning when I was playing around with the ideas I wanted to run with but hadn't quite nailed down into a business plan.
"I worked firstly with advisor James Craft, and then subsequently Mark Johnston from TEDCO who helped me every step of the way, and is still on hand whenever I have any questions.
"We worked extensively on my business plan and cash flow projections and then Mark helped with applying for our Virgin StartUp loan which was essential to getting the business moving."
Virgin StartUp is a not-for-profit organisation and part of the Virgin Group, providing low cost business loans to new enterprises to help kick-start new ventures with the start up capital they need to make business dreams come to life. Virgin StartUp is exclusively delivered in the North East by TEDCO Business Support.
Imran continues: "We were successful in receiving a £40,000 low cost loan from Virgin StartUp which helped fund the initial start up costs and allow us to look for premises and equipment to really push on with our idea for De Melo's.
"With the business now up and running, we are employing seven staff and were recently voted 'Best New Café' in the Teesside Evening Gazette People's Choice Awards.
"We couldn't be happier with what we've achieved and I'm just happy that customers get to enjoy my wife's signature cookies and cream cakes as much as I do."