THE owner of a Southside cafe has spoken of living in constant fear for the future of her business as news of closures across Glasgow’s food and drink industry becomes a near daily occurrence.

Sara De Carlo opened Partenope alongside her partner, Toni, in the summer of 2021 after months of hard graft to transform the formerly vacant Hector Road unit into the bustling, family-run coffee shop that they had envisaged.

Almost two years later, despite the fact that the shop has earned rave reviews and regular customers, Sara says they are facing their toughest challenge yet as bills continue to rise and footfall declines.

Glasgow Times:

She said: “We’re literally living day by day at the moment.

“This is going to sound silly, but I snapped a floor brush the other day and thought to myself ‘I’ll hold off on buying a new one’ because we’re just so scared to spend any money.

“Before you were almost able to calculate what your bills were going to be at the end of the month but there’s no way of knowing now.

“I’ve had so many sleepless nights about it.”

Building Partenope from the ground up was a dream venture for Sara and Toni and a total career change that required a leap of faith in the wake of the Covid lockdowns.

Glasgow Times:

Although Sara says they are ‘proud’ of what they have achieved, independently running a business has proven a difficult task which leaves them feeling personally responsible for their finances and staff and leaves little chance to enjoy the sum of their hard work.

She said: “We’re not as busy as we were before, and the bills keep going up which creates this vicious cycle.

“There’s so much work that goes into actually opening a shop, employing people and generating revenue and now it’s just like there’s a bowling ball coming along and knocking us all out one by one.

“We don’t do anything in our spare time.

“When I talk about having money to spend for us, I don’t mean getting my hair or nails done, it’s just paying my own bills at home.”

Knowing all too well the strain that the cost-of-living crisis is having on her own budget the mum of two is quick to point out that there’s no way to blame people for tightening their belts and foregoing simple pleasures like a weekend cup of coffee from the cafe.

Glasgow Times:

When talk turns to what can be done to help take the pressure off business owners she said: “I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the Government needs to step in to help the industry because I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“I do think what they should do is try and offer some relief to the public so that maybe they would be able to go out and enjoy their money a little more.

“If my bills have gone up by hundreds of pounds then it’s likely that other people’s have too.

“It’s so infuriating to have made it through Covid and the renovation and to have built something we’re proud of only to be at risk of being knocked out by rising costs.

“It’s all about surviving at the moment and hopefully we can manage to stay open, even if we’re not making a profit.

“We’re losing so many of these lovely places in Glasgow which means that even if the situation does sort itself out everyone is going to have to start again from nothing.

“It really is frightening.”

Cost of Living Crisis: Why are so many Glasgow restaurants closing?

As part of a special investigation, we’re delving into the many closures plaguing the food and drink industry to find out what it means for our city.

Please contact Sarah Campbell ( or Marissa MacWhirter ( or if you have any questions, comments or tips.

For more information on Partenope click here.