So which is it? Quarks or Quantum?

Confused? Don’t be!

Remember how ‘Marathon’ rebranded to ‘Snickers?’ or ‘Jif’ rebranded to ‘Cif’? or ‘Oil of Ulay’ to ‘Oil of Olay’? Well, this is absolutely nothing like that.

First, those rebrands were all completely ridiculous, cost thousands, even millions, of pounds, second, they were unnecessary and even annoying from a consumer’s point of view and, finally, these were products that are purchased by thousands of people daily. we, on the other hand, have one café in the centre of Reading which serves four people daily, half of whom have come in by accident because they are looking for the cobblers that closed down ten years ago.

Ok, so that last bit may be a tiny bit understated for comedy effect, but the fact is the café has definitely changed name. I can prove it too …

Quarks Café 2012
Quarks 2012
Quantum Web Café 2013
Quantum Café 2013

We started the original Quarks Internet Café waaaaay back in 1996 and the story of where the name came from can be found here.

Reading was the second branch to open, in February 2000, and ultimately there would be three, with the flagship store opening in central Richmond in 2001.


In April 2011 we sold the Guildford branch to new owners (we’d already closed Richmond after 8 years due to the very high rent increases we’d endured) and they wanted the name.

This made sense of course, because Quarks Guildford was the longest running internet café in the entire country. It had only just been pipped at the post to opening by the original Cyberia which had long since closed down. In short, it was a national treasure and we absolutely agreed that the name should stay and be included it as part of the deal.

That left us with a problem. If we can’t use Quarks, what would it be? In April 2012 we ran a competition and asked our customers. We got hundreds and hundreds of entries and were glad to see that one of the names we’d liked and been bouncing around between us previously, but had kept quiet about, came up a couple of times. ‘Quantum’ it was. After all, it had some of the same letters, came from the same family of words, was still related to physics where ‘quarks’ had been borrowed from and it still sounded funky. Job done.

And that, dear reader, was that. Nothing else has changed, we’re still the same lovely, geeky, slightly odd, friendly crew and we’re still in the same place, we’re just more Quantum than Quarks these days!

However, no sooner has we changed everything over to the new name (which took about a year in all) we received a phone call that Quarks in Guildford was closing down. It had been open for seventeen years in all and had enjoyed a fabulous reputation in it’s day, but the new owners just couldn’t get to grips with it and it slipped away quickly and quietly. It was a sad end, but it’s not an uncommon story in this day and age. This means, of course, that Quarks no longer exists in any form at all now!

Quantum Reading, however, is going from strength to strength, as only having one branch allows for a lot of focus! We’re the title sponsors for this year’s Reading Fringe Festival, have taken part in the last two year’s Eat Reading Live! event, have been runners up for two year’s running in the Reading Retail Awards ‘My Favourite Coffee Shop’ category and just renewed the lease for another ten years.

There’s still more to do, of course, and the café changes in some subtle way almost every day, but we hope that Quantum is here to stay in name and in physical presence!

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