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.
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.
These 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.