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Fancy a Coffee in Neston? Think Independent!

Author: Carrie Spacey Published: 20th January 2020 10:16

Independent coffee shop and café owners in Neston have expressed dismay at the decision by Tesco to install a Costa self-serve coffee machine recently.

Fancy a Coffee in Neston?  Think Independent!

The fortunes of Neston's town centre have picked up significantly since the arrival of Elephant Coffee in the High Street in 2012.  Prior to that, the hunt for a decent cup of coffee may well have required a bus or car ride to Heswall or Chester.

Though some may say we now have too many such options, it's an economic reality in high streets up and down the land that small retail outlets have gradually given way to more and more service businesses such as hair, beauty, food and drink, as people increasingly shop online or visit larger out-of-town shopping centres.

It takes courage and commitment for any business to open and survive in today's economy, with high rents and rates, along with changes to legislation on wages and workplace pensions, all adding to the pressure on business owners.

Neston town centre is particularly fortunate to have a variety of independent cafés, each offering something different.  Elephant Coffee is similar to a city centre coffee stop, featuring locally roasted coffee and home produced bakery items, soups and grab-and-go lunch options.  Paisley Grey's Hideaway offers a mesmerising list of teas, both traditional and botanical, as well as coffees, breakfast, brunch, lunch and occasional themed dining events.  Real Food Kitchen prides itself on its healthy approach to both food and beverages, along with a programme of fitness, cookery and language classes.  Newest kid on the block, The Blue Bicycle, also offers locally roasted coffee, alongside a full day's menu of home cooked food, with events also being added to its diary.

What they all have in common is that they serve great coffee to take away.

Neston also has a franchised Costa Coffee, of course, which makes the Tesco decision to place a machine in its Metro store just a few yards away all the more perplexing.

Think independentThese lovely chaps have the right idea!

Keeping it local

What the independent owners want you to think about is whether you spend with the multinationals, or keep it local. Do you want your hard earned cash to go to multinationals, or would you rather see it stay in the local economy, being used to buy local ingredients, support other local businesses and paying local staff?

For those that might argue that Tesco and other multi-nationals also employ local people - that's absolutely true, but surely the installation of a self-service machine does not support that.

So what are our local, independent businesses saying?

Emma Mitchell, owner of Elephant Collective said: "If all the other shops are closed at 10pm and you don't fancy making your way over the road for a coffee at Elephant Bank or popping down to Parkgate for a coffee in Elephant Lounge, then sure, by all means, use it!

"We'd just like it if people think twice before going to use it in the daytime and, instead, choose one of Neston's cool, local, friendly independents over a machine that doesn't even have the manners to smile or ask how your day's been, when serving your coffee.

"I seriously don't understand why people use these machines to be honest. It completely baffles me."

David Ince, owner of Paisley Grey, added: "I'm really disappointed that Tesco felt that this is necessary in the town.

"There's a great selection of independent coffee shops and tea rooms all offering high quality drinks to take away. Things are tough enough for independent businesses on local high streets. The supermarkets take whatever market share they can with no regard for small businesses. It's not a surprise that they now want a share of the coffee market too."

Ann McDonagh, from The Blue Bicycle, said: "It seems unnecessary in Tesco and we hope all our customers will continue to appreciate our coffee and visit us for the 'independent experience'."

A Tesco spokesperson said: "We're always looking for ways to improve and enhance our stores for our customers who are busy and don't have much time to spare. These express coffee machines allow them to grab a hot drink while they shop. We will continue to listen to customer feedback and make changes based around this." 

So there you have it.  It's your choice, and your money, use it wisely.



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At 14:35 on 20th January 2020, Snapdragon commented:
Sadly, there are empty costa cups now appearing as litter (in Church Lane). I for one will only support the independent outlets.
At 19:00 on 20th January 2020, merrymac commented:
I always use the local independant coffee shops over both Costas because (A) their coffee tastes better and (B) it helps our community thrive. "Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business." This is a quote from https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/dec/06/shop-locally-small-business-saturday-seven-reasons
Just because something is cheaper, does not make it better
Diamond Vintage
At 21:18 on 20th January 2020, Diamond Vintage commented:
If no-one uses the Tesco Express coffee machine, hopefully they will 'uninstall' it to use computer jargon. After all, if anything doesn't make a profit Tesco won't stock it.
So, let's not use it, and publicise the fact that we are not, and why.
It's much more civilised in any case to sit down in comfort and enjoy a coffee without juggling a shopping basket and trying to search for something on a shelf...
Mr Claypole
At 06:38 on 21st January 2020, Mr Claypole commented:
Unfortunately no where is open at 6.15am on my way to work!! So now I know where I can grab a brew on my way in that doesn't take forever to make and without a phallus starring me in the face every time I take a sip(elephant sort your website out) nice bit of advertising though for Costa express.
CO Jones
At 10:28 on 21st January 2020, CO Jones commented:
Bag of coffee from a shop - 2.50.
Cafetiere from Shop - about a tenner
Thermos beaker that will last forever - about a tenner
Total - 22.50 with an on-going cost of a bag of coffee every couple of weeks for 2.50. And environmentally the best option.

Or buy a coffee from any of the above on way to work for 2.50 a day (ish) forever.

I use the coffee shops when the time suits but the daily cuppa is not one. I don't want to be spending 12.50 a week on something that can cost a fraction of that irrespective of who who is making it.

And, I have been at work in Manchester since 7am and the brew I made at 6am at home is still warm.
At 10:48 on 21st January 2020, Lambster commented:
Are you Mr Claypole and CO Jones not somewhat missing the point of this? If you prefer to get your coffee at home or work good on you. It seem to me that what this is about is asking people that do get their coffee on the hoof to get it from an independent. That is all. We all need to show these shops our support when we can or we will be moaning again about how theres nothing in the town centre anymore.
CO Jones
At 11:18 on 21st January 2020, CO Jones commented:
I agree with you. It just seemed an appropriate time to mention what a phenomenal waste of money and how potentially damaging to the environment the whole coffee culture has become.

And as for those infernal pod machines.
At 10:49 on 22nd January 2020, Shelagh commented:
I don't understand all this coffee on the go lark. Why do people feel the need to walk around with a drink in their hand all day? Is it a dummy substitute? If you want a nice cup of coffee, sit down properly and enjoy it. It's better for your state of mind and digestion. And yes, support your independent businesses! (I'm sure they do takeawats too.) I can't imagine why the planning people allowed Costa Coffee to open a place in Neston. We didn't need it.
At 10:50 on 22nd January 2020, Shelagh commented:
Excuse the inappropriate typo above!
Carrie Spacey
At 11:36 on 22nd January 2020, Carrie Spacey responded:
@Shelagh - that made me laugh, on quite a challenging day, so thank you!
Mr Claypole
At 12:49 on 22nd January 2020, Mr Claypole commented:
Shelagh I'd rather be walking around with a brew in my hand than walking around with my face buried in a mobile phone. Lambster the only point I'm not missing is the Child/forced labour the coffee industry supports and the heart disease/high blood pressure and diabetes that caffeine brings on!! Oh and don't get me on about the water as the fish pee in that.
At 16:57 on 22nd January 2020, Shelagh commented:
I quite agree, Mr Claypole. Down with mobile phone obsessions as well. And people with earphones permanently plugged into their ears.
Diamond Vintage
At 10:48 on 25th January 2020, Diamond Vintage commented:
For our hard working early risers who tumble out of bed with no time to do anything - commiserations. For the rest of us, there is plenty of choice with our independents. Let's just hope all can thrive and that Neston will continue to offer something for everyone...

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