A bit of (bad) news

When we started Square Mile our goals were fairly traditional for a startup roastery.  After the last Nordic Barista Cup that changed.  We had the chance to hang out with (the now newlywed) Chris and M’lissa Owens.  As anyone who has met them can attest – they are astoundingly wonderful people.

We had a new goal – to be the kind of company that they would want to come and work for, and to be big enough to sustain them.  This is a much healthier goal for a new company and we worked very hard to achieve that.

Chris and M’lissa (unbelievably) wanted to come to London to work with us and that was incredibly exciting.  We, foolishly, got excited and told people about this.  However one final hurdle stood in the way – the UK visa process.

The UK visa process has changed this year and try and try as we did we couldn’t overcome the challenge.  We, with great sadness, couldn’t get them over to work legally for any length of time and so disappeared an incredible opportunity to work with some of the most talented, inspiring and undeniably wonderful people we’ve met.

We’re gutted.  No other words for it.

Usually I wouldn’t post about this kind of thing on here.  However, with SCAA/WBC coming up I am sure a few people are going to be asking them about London and I am sure it isn’t something they are wanting to talk a great deal about – not for any secretive reason, it just makes us all quite sad.

I can’t wait to see them and hang out in the next few days, and it was lovely to find out Gwilym’s barista buddy was Chris.  As you’ve probably gathered we think the world of Chris and M’lissa and are sure they have an amazing coffee career ahead of them.  We just wish we could have shared some of it with them.

20 Comments A bit of (bad) news

  1. Mark

    Well that really sucks. Stephen can get a green card to work for Intelly, but these amazing folks with heaps of talent… aren’t there cases where those with exceptional talent can get work visas when no one in-country can fill the job? I would imagine there’s very few in the UK who have the one-two punch that M’lissa and Chris have, regarding coffee expertise.

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  4. Alex R

    That sucks, the UK Visa system is completely crap.

    Mrs R’s Visa Application for IDLR was sent in October, Home office changed the form in middle of November. We waited until January just to hear back that we need to reapply on the new form and then wait another 3 months. Luckily for us everything was approved but the people that sort this stuff out are insanely inept it would seem.

    I will refrain from Ranting…I will refrain from Ranting…I will refrain from Ranting

    Sorry to hear about the loss for them and you guys, I’m sure that both they and Square Mile will land on your feet but it does sound like a loss for the burgeoning UK Coffee Scene.

  5. Poul Mark

    Sorry guys, I know how hard it is to have dreams crushed, especially when it involves people you care about. I am also saddened that the UK has gone this route, and that the coffee frontier in London will suffer as a result. Economic downturn, visa protectionism is a bunch of crap, and in the global economy, and the shrinking world, you would think our governments would wake up and smell the coffee.

  6. Bea

    Yeah, the visa system stinks here—any chance they could go to an “english language” school and get a student visa? I’m sure they could get some grammar lessons in and learn ‘innit’?

    They are such cool people! She liked my red velvet cake. :)


  7. Henry

    I’m very sorry to hear this. This new points based system is very strict – I hear these type of stories all the time. Have you exhausted all options? Might have a chat when I next drop in.

  8. Gary

    Had the opportunity to meet them both in Atlanta, real shame about the visa. They’re both wonderful people and would have been a massive boost to the UK scene. Whats most annoying is that only a few years ago with the sieve like borders that we had they could have probably just walked in.

  9. Cash Back Cards

    Sorry to hear about your UK visa problems. That sucks that you were so psyched to have them come work for you only to be denied by red tape. Perhaps you should have temporarily married one of them :)

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