You may have seen the front page of last week's Lutterworth Mail. There I was, along with several other members of the local Chamber of Trade, smiling in apparent delight at the prospect of 'High St giant' (to quote reporter Michael Whelan) Costa Coffee opening a branch in Lutterworth.
In truth, I have very mixed feelings about it.
For sure it would be great to have the former Gillards shop occupied. It's an eyesore of an empty shop in a prominent position facing all the way down Church St.
And Costa Coffee operates on a franchise model - so, in effect, a small local business which just happens to operate under the branding of a large chain - just like Subway... and thebestof. I don't know who the potential franchisee is, or whether they are local, but either way this not quite the same as a large corporate taking over the town centre.
On the other hand, we already have at least three coffee shops/cafes in town, and that's not counting the supermarkets. Is there room for another one?
I'm very fond of PJ's - I often meet my son for lunch there and have a chat with owners Paul & Julie and I would hate for them to be adversely affected by a Costa branch.
I also like Whittles Cafe, who do a fantastic value-for-money English breakfast (amongst other things!) and have great respect for Laurah & Lynda who are working very hard on their business. I don't want to lose either of these lovely local businesses.
But there's no doubt that, rightly or wrongly, High St. names do seem to be attractive to shoppers. I regularly monitor and use Twitter for thebestoflutterworth and only last week picked up on a tweet from a lady wishing that there was a Starbucks and a Paperchase in Lutterworth. It's a great shame she didn't realise that we have lovely places to go for coffee, and several stores that sell all the cards, gift-wrap, stationery and little gifts that you could possibly wish for - but either she didn't know they were there, or she'd rather shop with well-known brands...
So, what do you think? Are you pleased about the possibility of a Costa Coffee in town, or do you think we don't need it and would be better off without the big-name brands?
I'd really like to know! Please leave us a comment
Member since: 10th July 2012
Shy retiring (!) red-head, working hard to showcase everything great about our town and villages. Loves her son, her man & Bruce Springsteen (but not always in that order!)