Cagri Turan, 35, has worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years.
He had always dreamed of opening up his own coffee shop but never had the chance to do so.
That was until last year, when Covid led to an unexpected opportunity at Bexhill train station.
He said: “I’ve worked in the station since 2013 but up until 2021, it operated under ‘H&M Coffee’. I joined the business on a part-time basis, then full-time and eventually became the manager in 2015.
“When the pandemic took hold, it had a huge impact on the business and the owners decided they wanted to give up the premises.
“I decided it was now or never and contacted Southern about renting the space as my own. Due to the ongoing Covid situation and numerous lockdowns, the process took quite a while but in December 2021 I was given the keys and it was the best day of my life.”
Now entering his eighth year of working in Bexhill station, Cagri, or ‘Chucky’ as he’s known to most, has built up a great reputation.
He not only knows all of the station staff very well, but he is well-known in the local community too.
He said: “I’ve worked in the station for so long it’s like my second home.
“I know everyone so well that I get people coming in to ask if I’ve seen their son today, or others who leave their house keys for their partner to pick up on the way back through the station. Everyone knows each other and it’s a nice community to be a part of.
“I’m Turkish but I was born and grew up in Germany. I then came over to London in my early 20s to be a barista in a Turkish coffee shop in Piccadilly Circus. Man arrested over burglary at Hastings Old Town antique shop
“I worked there for three years but my wife and I wanted to try for a baby and living in London was just too expensive for us.
“My friend told me about a Turkish restaurant that was looking for staff in Bexhill. I looked into it and for the price I was paying for a double room in London, I could rent a two-bedroom house. I made the move and worked in the restaurant for around nine months.
“This is when I spotted that H&M Coffee was opening up in Bexhill station. That was back in 2013 and I’m still in the same place now. Being a barista isn’t just a job, it’s my hobby. I love it and I love making people happy.”
Chucky’s Baristro as it is now known, is located in the booking hall inside Bexhill train station.
Cagri said the shop has gone from serving 10 cups of coffee per day when he first opened it as his own, to now more than 100 cups per day.
Kate Richards, Bexhill station manager, has known Cagri for many years and said he is an extension of the station team.
She added: “I was so pleased to hear that Chucky had managed to get his own keys to our station coffee shop.
“He’s a real character and a valued member of the local community. Since getting the keys, he’s transformed the facility and it really adds to the atmosphere in the station.
“It’s inspiring to see how Chucky’s made his dream come true during a really difficult time for businesses.”