Thursday, 13 August 2015

Sidmouth: a town of charity shops and coffee shops?

There has been concern for some time about the look of Sidmouth's High Street:
Futures Forum: "Sidmouth's different shopping experience is disappearing."

One area has been the fear of national  brands taking over:
Call for more chain stores in Sidmouth triggers strong defence of ‘unique’ town - News - Sidmouth Herald

The local press has highlighted similar concerns - especially around the proliferation of charity shops:
Sidmouth charity shop plans branded “hideous” - News - Sidmouth Herald

One shop-owner was very clear earlier in the summer:

'You used to be able to come to Sidmouth for a different shopping experience. That’s disappearing. Now it’s become known as the charity shop capital of the South West.'

Parking threatens quality businesses - shop owner - News - Sidmouth Herald

Following the closure of the grocers-cum-cafe Trumps

Trumps in Fore Street. Ref shs 4857-36-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sad closure of historic Sidmouth shop - News - Sidmouth Herald

... it looks as though this will become another cafe.

Here is the latest thread from Streetlife:

Re: Trumps shop

Local Conversations in Northmostown
Pc.plod P 
Yet again another Coffee Shop for Sidmouth. Quite a big chainhttp://www.coffee1.co.uk/  but should give Costa Coffee a run for its money. (East Devon planning application numbers 15/1705/LBC and 15/1704/ADV) love to here your response, do you think we need another Coffee shop or would you of preferred something on the retail side.
Pc plod P

Barnacle Bill
Way to go - couldn't be better. They have a good name in the SW and like to keep a warm, homely and old atmosphere in their establishments.

You could say they 'belong' here!

Wonder what they've done with that pasta machine I saw going in there several weeks ago??????
Pc.plod P
Barnacle Bill: sorry bill but you got your pasta machine mixed up with a dust extractor for asbestos.
Pc plod P
Pc.plod P
Sid C Gull: Look on tripadvisor for Coffee1 Exeter. apparently you have to queue to be served, clear your own table after the other customers have left and queue for the loo. Don't think this will go down very well in Sidmouth as it does offer some very good Coffee Shops and Restaurants with waiter service.
Pc plod P 
Peter S
They operate 50+ outlets across the South West including one in Princesshay Exeter, do we need another coffee outlet in Sidmouth, personally no, but is it better than another charity shop?
Sue P
I don't mind either. I have coffee in town every day and actually quite liked going into Trumps on a cold, rainy day, so hopefully it will be nice in there if some of the character is left.
Ann C
I personally think that a retail shop would have been preferable.  There are numerous coffee shops and some day soon one is going to fold.  It would be nice to have a decent underwear shop or quality clothes shop, maybe combine the two, Trumps is big enough.
Pc.plod P
Ann C: I couldn't agree more with you but did you know that Graze, Hong Kong, Coastal Coffee, The Loft and The Grosvenor tea room are all up for sale. Will need an awful lot of business to keep Coffee#1 going taking into account the rent, rates, staff and general running costs they will have to pay.
that's an awful lot of Coffee
Pc plod P
Polarising Plebeian
  • For sale doesn't mean that they're not doing well.
  • With 50 shops, spread out mostly in Wales, I wouldn't really call them a BIG chain.
  • I have in the past been served pasta with tasted like asbestos, I now begin to wonder about the link between these.
  • Ann C's idea is good, Tchibo usually sells underwear together with coffee, really true!!
Ann C
Polarising Plebeian, is the coffee for the men whilst the ladies choose their purchases? :-)
Roz K
Has nobody considered what this will mean for local traders who work their socks off all year round, and especially during Folk Week when this planning application was submitted!!! Coincidence (I don't think so). This coffee chain will be serving all day!!! the produce that we all serve at the moment - check out their menu - panini, baguettes, cakes, smoothies, breakfast baps need I go on? . There's nothing like coming in to a town with a reputation for great local business and treading on everyone's toes is there? Whatever happened to "Shop Local"?
The very identity of Sidmouth and all that makes it so special is at stakes here and once again we have been sold down the swanny by the council, planners and management companies who care little for the town image.
Polarising Plebeian
Ann C, yes maybe. But apparently you'd go into a Tchibo and say "I'd like a Cappucino and a bra"  (I now surfed a bit about the Tchibo coffee shop brand  and found they only had shops in the UK between 2000 and 2009, time to call them back? To Sidmouth, right into the bubble where all good ideas are born)
By the Byes
Roz - like you, I'd be delighted to see a local trader take the site on - personally, I agree with Peter M, I'd love to see a fresh, modern bistro here in town. So it's a shame that a large "chain" will fill Trumps position - Sidmouth's unique appeal will disappear if we allow it to be "standardised" like many other towns.
However, the alternative would be to leave it empty, or at best let yet another charity shop fill it.
The choice is seemingly not a happy one, but we already have far too many empty premises and charity shops.
Peter S
Roz K

Where are the local entrepreneur's who had the chance to operate out this property, if no one local takes it, what do you expect the agent to do, leave it empty, this is where I believe the local Chamber should be involved and be proactive to support the town, I got into trouble the last time I mentioned them but this is from the national organisation "Chambers help businesses connect, belong, and succeed. For over 150 years, our business has been helping UK business grow" so should they should have the initiative to stop this happening by keeping a close eye on the future of buildings and making up a legal plan to support more local people to go into business. You mention the Council and planners, they are tied by national controls, which cannot make different local legislation for every town in the country, if only it could. Once again it down to each business to show they are better than a outside business coming in.
Pc.plod P
Roz K: if the general public of Sidmouth don't like the idea of another chain store in town I.e. Coffee#1 (http://www.coffee1.co.uk/), then please carry on supporting your local Coffee shops. The majority of these use local bread shops and source their products fresh from the local shops. the answer is simple use it or loose it, and don't forget these national chains have larger over heads and buy their products from else where.
Pc plod P  
Old Boot
Pc plod p...we definitely support our local coffee shops,and have a few favourite watering holes. We "dont do chains"
Pc.plod P
Old Boot: I think a lot of the local businesses would say thank you, but its a shame it never happened to Costa Coffee, it would have gone by now if everyone thought like you.
Pc plod P
Polarising Plebeian
Pc Plod: I would have thought that the very principle of any chain, quite small chains as this one, or even the big national ones, exist for the very reason to get the overheads down, not up. I always thought this is called economies of scale.
Peter M
This is shaping up to be a constructive debate; some good posts here in my humble opinon. I'm inclined to be with Roz K, apart from the 'sold down the swanny' comment - I think Peter S's comment was objective and measured. Why with Roz? Well, I do my darndest since coming here to live to 'shop local', and as a lifelong entrepreneur myself will always appreciate the endeavours of people who own and run their own businesses, creating something unique.

I'll drink coffee/have lunch etc where there is decent home-baked produce and locally sourced products any day; these mass-produced menus supplied by catering vans from some factory somewhere lack appeal and style, to my mind.

I'm not quite with Mr P Plebeian though as any economies of scale are for the benefit of the shareholders, and there may well be considerable finance costs incurred to fund the expansion of the chains.

To conclude, let's give them a chance to show they can deliver a good product to Sidmouth residents and visitors. At least they have chosen our town and invested in it, and that sure beats an empty shop!
Sid C.Gull
I have not heard of this coffee chain...but did we get a similar response to this regarding the cyclist and the van.  What is it about coffee!

I stay loyal to one or two places in Sidmouth...because they are good...and busy!  They will always be.

I am simply amazed that coffee shops can get this wide range of debate when the closure of Green Close hardly raised a mention.  The M.I.U. reduced hours created a better response... but coffee shops....
Pining Lass
I can't quite see how the Chamber of Commerce can be expected to find new businesses to fill empty shops, or how the Council can either.

It seems that people find running a business difficult because it takes up so much of your life and people now have an expectation of a 'work/life balance'. In the past running your own business was worth the effort because it gave you a better standard of living, now there is very little difference between what you earn as an employee and an employer most people think the effort is not worth while.
Roz K
Bad News - Local business owner of two businesses in Sidmouth and work 18hours a day to make a difference and be proud of something.
Sidney M
Just looked a their menu, drinks are expensive £2.25 for an Americano, in my favourite cafe in town I pay £1.80 ... for a mug of excellent coffee, its locally sourced and comes with a smile and a chat, so I don't think I'll be changing.

I thought the name 'Trumps' was being kept!
Pc.plod P
Sidney M: no I am not something to do with the Rendezvous and I don't have to tell you who I really am either, but what or who gave you that idea I was?
Pc Plod P
Sidney M
Only that I eat out a lot Sid.. fortunately retired and enoying life.

Just a rumour I heard from a fellow street lifer, PC plod.
Barnacle Bill
Peter S asked "Where were the Entrepreneurs?" - well they're out on the seafront with their coffee trike!

Where were the 'chamber'? - well they were too busy up at the council offices objecting to the coffee trike!!
Polarising Plebeian
Sidney M Interested to hear where the locally sourced coffee comes from. The Sid Valley is full of surprises, do the coffee beans grow next to the banana farm up the hill, I wonder?
Anne C
I would rather Sidmouth stayed a busy, vibrant town than a dead town with charity shops and empty premises and these days the way forward seems to be chains - not just coffee but also retail outlets. We now have many of those. e.g. MandCo, Fatface, Joules, Saltrock, Seasalt, Mountain Warehouse - to name but a few. Do people object to these as well?
Sidney M
Didn't realise there was banana plantation so close ;) ... missed that one!

Locally sourced .... not grown, just roasted and ground in the South West.
By the Byes
Sidney, yes, it's been there quite a while, surprised you haven't noticed it already....
Locally sourced coffee means that it is supplied by a local company, ie based in Devon. Some of those companies also roast the coffee as well
Real Sidmouthian
I didn't think it would be long before the Sidmouth Stazi Anti Competition Police dusted off their usual arguments. Free Trade and Free Competition. People vote with their feet and wallets. Provide a good value service with good customer care and people soon decide what to support. No trader has an automatic right to be the only one to sell something. I'd sooner see an entire town of coffee shops than empty ones like the former SES. Luckily the planning system only takes into account planning reasons for objections.
Barnacle Bill
Ah the Posse !

Yeah bet their saddling up as we type. Looking forward to having a good laugh at their arguments.

You mention SES - RS - I'm wondering how the roof structure will hold out during these impending thunder storms?
Teresa M
I applaud any business that comes into the town and creates employment  for local people. However there are always disadvantages and advantages to a 'chain' business entering a small town that relies mainly on tourism, and the support of regular local people to keep purchasing from there shops.  These companies are equipped with large amounts of corporate funding to firstly pay the high cost of maintaining and improving the buildings, and to pay the business tax and other overheads which can be very expensive in small towns. Their priority is to make a huge  profit , they are not concerned with the community the town or the people who live in it( although their propaganda will tell you differently especially if a planning problem suddenly appears). I can imagine a lot of people saying well that's ok, they are taking over a empty building and will be employing local people. I wonder if you really know how many LOCAL young business people struggle to maintain their business in this town, and can not compete with the large corporate pot of funding these companies have, I am talking about peope who have lived here all of their lives worked hard to maintain there business and struggle in the winter to keep going, family business's who do not get any discounts or help with their overheads. I know of people who have business out of the town who were born here and could NEVER  afford a shop in SIDMOUTH because the running costs would be crippling for them. I am not saying we should keep shops empty and only local people should have them ,I am saying why not encourage local people and families to take over some of these premises. I can see a vision of SIDMOUTH being smothered by corporate chains, Weatherspoons, WHSmith, BHS food stores, all waiting in line to find a premisis leaving the small new start business with no hope of getting into what was once a unique and destination shopping town, to a shopping town with no connection to the community or the people who have lived here with their families for many years.

Streetlife | Re: Trumps shop

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