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Supporting local businesses

(26 Posts)
lefthanded Tue 19-Apr-16 00:56:37

We were in Caerleon this afternoon - a small tourist-orientated town that has worked hard to promote the ethos of supporting local businesses, and which has tried (with limited success) to keep the large chain retailers out.

So at 3:45 we decided to have a cup of coffee. We went into a locally-owned independent coffee shop, and were told that unfortunately they close at 4pm and had already cleaned their expresso machine so would not be serving any more coffee today.

Oh well....try another independent coffee shop just up the road. It was 3:55 as we got to that one and as I approached the door a young girl closed and locked it in front of me. No word. No apology. Although she could not have failed to see me she did not acknowledge me in any way.

There is one more independent coffee shop in another street, and when we got there we found that it had closed at 3:30!

So we drove to Cwmbran, about 6 miles away, and went to Starbuck's. They were open until 7pm. So much for supporting local businesses.

BBbevan Tue 19-Apr-16 08:41:44

Have you noticed that many shops do not open until 9.30 a.m. We have often needed to go to a particular shop only to find it closed. We are not prepared to wait a half- hour so go elsewhere. Their loss.

annsixty Tue 19-Apr-16 08:55:09

I have certainly noticed the coffee shop thing. I go out one afternoon a week with a friend and when I could walk a distance ,every three weeks or so we would go to a small town a couple of miles away. All the coffee shops close almost as soon as the lunch trade is over andat one we had the same experience of the locked door when half a dozen customers were at tables. Thinking the door was tight we knocked on the glass and were totally ignored. The customers all stared at their drinks totally embarrassed and my friend,no shrinking violet, knocked again loudly and the proprietor/ manager just looked across and shook her head. It was one of the rudest things I had seen. We went to Costa.

Teetime Tue 19-Apr-16 08:59:33

We have lots of coffee shops and they are usually closed by about 4 except for Nero and Costa. A couple have now started opening in the evenings for bistro type meals which is good but they all have the same menu. We could really do with some diversity.

obieone Tue 19-Apr-16 09:13:06

BBbevan. In our town, many dont even bother to open until 10am.

harrigran Tue 19-Apr-16 09:23:43

It is the same in the little market town, where we have our other home, coffee shops open only the second half of the week. The town has market days on Thursday and Saturday and I suppose they think they will get more trade then. If you have been out for a walk or done your shopping it is often about 4pm when you fancy a tea or coffee, annoying when you can't get one.

lizzypopbottle Tue 19-Apr-16 10:13:19

In Morpeth the independent coffee shops all close at 4.30pm. My friend, Kate and I used to meet up for coffee after work but if one of us was delayed we couldn't get coffee in our favourite cafe. We asked them why they closed so early. They said it's a local chamber of trade decision imposed on them to protect the cafes/restaurants that open in the evening. Maybe it's the same story in the other small towns mentioned. Costa is open early and late so not sure how that works!

J52 Tue 19-Apr-16 10:18:44

In the little town where we have our H/H, only the butchers, bakers and newsagents open early, 7.30. So I can send DH out for bacon, baps and the paper! grin

I like the late opening hours of the others there's no hurry to be up and out, especially on cold dark mornings. Probably not so good for those off out to work but they probably prefer later opening at the other end of the day.

As for coffee, we also have cafes/ tea shops opening for early evening trade, but also have two good Hotels where you can get coffee.


Cambia Tue 19-Apr-16 10:20:50

I have a small local business and it is so frustrating that other local shops around me don't open until perhaps 10am and close at 5pm. Some take half days during the week and most close at 2pm on Saturdays which means that as customers cannot rely on being able to buy essentials they bypass us and shop in other towns . Saturday is a retail day not a half day!!! I understand some are very small businesses and need time for family etc but get a grip! Shop opening hours should enable customers to shop and surely 9 am to 5.30 is not unreasonable. Most are closed Sunday's. Our town lives in fear of a major supermarket opening up but frankly that is what we need to stop our town from dying.

I was born into retail and am now 60. Lots has changed but the basic principle of offering customers remains a good service hasn't!!!

PPP Tue 19-Apr-16 10:20:52

I think it is a British thing. We don't have a tradition of providing good service!

Cotswoldgran Tue 19-Apr-16 10:36:54

Hmm well think about it, if it is a small town there is probably not much trade outside core hours, with the introduction of the national living wage most employees will be earning £7.20 per hour lets say that most coffee shops would need 2 employees minimum then that's £14.80per hour, plus the owners contribution to their national insurance and pensions , they would also have to pay VAT at 20%, plus any credit or debit card fees on your purchase, add to that the cost of heating and lighting etc, then not really their loss at all when you think about it, by the way I do not own a coffee shop, but do own a business.

Angela1961 Tue 19-Apr-16 10:39:29

These days people are often employed on a zero hours contract. These allows the owners of small shops,cafes etc to open only when profitable i.e. close and send home the staff when it quietens down. Next door to where I volunteer in the winter months the cafe does not open Monday's and shuts at 4pm on quiet days.

lefthanded Tue 19-Apr-16 10:45:42

I can understand that they would close at times when it was not profitable to stay open, but this is an area which is very prominent on the tourist map. There are no chain coffeee shops - just these three independents. Is it really plausible that we were the only people wanting coffee after 4pm?

mollie Tue 19-Apr-16 10:48:08

We found a nice independent coffee shop in a town at the other end of the county and happily supported it despite the long drive. This week I discovered it is owned by Tesco!!! Won't be making the effort any more...hmm

inishowen Tue 19-Apr-16 10:58:25

We went for a Sunday carvery this week in a local restaurant. Hubby had a salad starter then decided to have soup too. When we went to pay, the cashier said loudly "the gentleman had two starters!" Hubby was mortified as he felt he was being accused of stealing. (We didn't have desserts, or tea and coffee, so we had eaten less than we should") Instead of feeling like valued customers we felt uncomfortable and won't be going back.

2old4hotpants Tue 19-Apr-16 11:00:45

How lucky you are to have independent coffee shops. No such thing in my South London area. Only the chains or M&S.

Craftycat Tue 19-Apr-16 11:15:31

Our local coffee shop is great- he is really friendly & does amazing food too. I know he opens early but not sure what time he shuts. We have a Costa, Nero & 2 other independents but I go to this one whenever possible. When I was working we went in there for lunch a lot & he did a roaring trade in takeaway coffee before work in the morning. There are nice touches such as drawing boards & crayons for children & daily papers. I can't remember where he came from originally- Eastern Europe somewhere -but he & his wife have been in our town for at least 15 years to my certain knowledge. We have 3 proper tea shops too rather than coffee shops & we are only a very small town- just on a good rail link to London.

Welshwife Tue 19-Apr-16 11:19:27

We have two independent coffee shops where we stay with relatives - both are very good Nd also offer very different styles of meals. One shop is owned by a wonderful Jamaican man who I could listen to all day! He is very friendly and will tell you all sorts of rememdies his Grandmother used when he was a boy in Jamaica. The other one is more 'upmarket' but has lovely staff who have been there for years and the goods are good too - it is a place where I am happy to go and sit if I am in town on my own.
Costa has also started to invade the town with a shop they have extended and it always has a good number of people in there. It is great to see them doing well but unfortunately the town itself is not doing so well with many places closing.

dogsdinner Tue 19-Apr-16 12:43:46

Same in our town. All coffee shops closed 3.45. Tried with 5yr old to get refreshments only place serving coffee was the pub. Unhappy with taking her in a pub. Would other grans have done so?

harrigran Tue 19-Apr-16 16:51:05

Going off subject a little but I was in Sainsbury's this afternoon and I noticed that they are selling clothes made in the UK. I have been saying for ages that I would willingly pay more for garments manufactured here, somebody is paying heed.

poshpaws Wed 20-Apr-16 00:06:56

No, I don't try to support local businesses other than my favourite agricultural/pet goods and feeds supplier whom I always go to because it's family run and they have or will get for you everything you could possibly want, with special offers and everyday competitive prices. Other local businesses charge ludicrous amounts - the butchers are the worst offenders, the fresh fish shop is a very close second, and the stationer is both expensive and very limited in stocks of just about everything. The local women's clothing shops make me unsure whether to laugh or cry - jackets at over £300? I think not! It's not, in my opinion, feasible for anyone on a limited budget to overlook the big supermarkets, for food, household supplies and clothing. And you can't beat amazon or eBay for entertainment items, or Argos & Lidl for household goods.

It may be harsh, but the world moves on - we're in a new "Spinning Jenny" era and only niche crafts like you find on or at local craft fairs are going to survive so far as I can see.

NanaandGrampy Wed 20-Apr-16 00:58:29

But mollie , if you liked the coffee shop, and the the goods were well priced and of good quality why does it matter if Tescos own it?

I don't care who owns a store of any description as long as it meets my needs. Independent or multinational .

Spangles1963 Wed 20-Apr-16 02:43:24

mollie - was it Harris and Hoole? We had one of those open in our local town but it closed down after 6 months. Maybe the fact that it was only open 9.30am - 4.30pm had something to do with it. It couldn't compete with the Starbucks (opposite) and Costa's"(next door but one) being open 7.30am - 8.30pm.

NanaandGrampy Wed 20-Apr-16 08:05:57

We use our local Harris and Hoole in Tesco's and like it very much.

The coffee is good but more importantly for us the staff are wonderful. It has a local coffee shop feel unlike Starbucks, the staff know us by name ( helped I'm sure by the app we check in with which notes our 'usual' coffee.

I see Tesco's have the cafes up for sale so who knows what will replace them or what changes will be made.

mollie Wed 20-Apr-16 09:00:23

Yes, Harris & Hoole. I suppose we felt a bit smug when we thought we were doing our bit to support a small independent (possibly) company and are disappointed that Tesco is involved. We won't be going back because in a couple of weeks we're moving to Norfolk. A three hour drive is a bit far for a cup of coffee and a sandwich isn't it!

That in itself has made me think about supporting local independent businesses - the point has already been made to us that local and independent will probably mean expensive and you have to weigh up the benefits. Here in MK it's all chains and supermarkets - they killed off small and local years ago - so I'll happily support independent and local where possible but only if they provide good quality and value for money.