Another Italian deli cafe

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Steve
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Another Italian deli cafe

Postby Steve » Wed 17 Jun, 2015 6:36 pm

Rather than thinking up something new and different, it currently seems to be the business vogue for entrepreneurs to replicate what three or four other established businesses are doing in the town. How does this benefit anyone?

I ask this after speaking to the chap setting up a new Italian deli and cafe in the former Ortons Audio Visual shop in Old Cross.

SloopJohnB
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby SloopJohnB » Wed 17 Jun, 2015 9:07 pm

Here we go again. There is a thought in town that it is better to have a shop filled than being empty. I have no objection to cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, sandwich bars etc - we all have to eat and drink. There comes a time when we reach a point - do we really need another one? Many years ago Cllr Radford and myself argued for a local plan whereby certain trades could be restricted to a percentage of the whole. I have asked EHDC since 2005 'is there a local plan for Hertford? The reply - X is working on it (name withheld to protect me and admin). Ten years on and we are still nowhere near. But hey! what about the vision and strategy currently being developed you ask. By the time that gets published they'll be no more retail left - Colin Sykes and Ashleys is just the start - Hertford will be awash with bars. Very nice for the night time economy but what about day time. It needs sorting.

In a rash moment I went to a Community Matters meeting and asked 'if all things were equal and I wanted to open another licensed bar could I?' Of course you could was the reply. And why not? Can you really see any change in this policy considering that there is no opposition at any level of local government and no one arguing for an alternative way of running our towns.

As I have said somewhere else; not here I think. Where in Hertford can you buy a pair of shoes, ladies knickers or a baby potty - an eclectic collection for an elderly gentleman like me. And don't say Wrenbridge because they are not going to fall over themselves to attract a shoe shop even if the bulldozers eventually do cruise through Bircherley Green.

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Darcy Sarto
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby Darcy Sarto » Wed 17 Jun, 2015 10:54 pm

I know I've said this before but the only things you can really successfully "retail" anymore are those that customers can't buy on t'internet (i.e. a cup of coffee, a decent sandwich a haircut and dinner). If I were selling in a shop I'd have a trapdoor installed so any customers saying "ooh that looks nice - lets go home and buy it for a fiver less on t'internet" could be instantly despatched.

I am not a retailer so remain undecided as to whether the conversion of town centres into food courts (where you can also get your hair and nails done) is a bad thing or not. I'm afraid Mrs S, like so many, does do "shopping" whereas I do "buying" which are two very different (and often mutually exclusive) things.

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Steve
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby Steve » Wed 17 Jun, 2015 11:15 pm

My point, and this is what irks me slightly, is that it's simply duplicating what is already offered by three other establishments. If someone wants to open a coffee shop or restaurant, fine, but is it beyond the wit of any businessman with the necessary cash to come up with something different, even if it's only a French deli/cafe. Have these people never heard of USP?

And on a related note, I've not seen a planning application for change of use.

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Darcy Sarto
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby Darcy Sarto » Wed 17 Jun, 2015 11:56 pm

Steve wrote:And on a related note, I've not seen a planning application for change of use.


Didn't stop Starbucks did it?

I do see your point - there's a lot of Italian coffee on offer.

Kateg28
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby Kateg28 » Thu 18 Jun, 2015 8:39 am

SloopJohnB wrote: Many years ago Cllr Radford and myself argued for a local plan whereby certain trades could be restricted to a percentage of the whole. I have asked EHDC since 2005 'is there a local plan for Hertford? The reply - X is working on it (name withheld to protect me and admin). Ten years on and we are still nowhere near. But hey! what about the vision and strategy currently being developed you ask. .


But the very opposite of that strategy works very well elsewhere.

Implementation of that strategy everywhere means we would not have Hatton Garden or Saville Row etc. There is evidence that suggests that if you have a successful takeaway, someone else will open near you and also be successful. Think of China Town...

There are 20 antique shops in Tetbury so I suspect they don't have a restriction on trades.

I am not saying I like all the coffee shops/hairdressers etc but I would prefer shops with something rather than empty.

SloopJohnB
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby SloopJohnB » Thu 18 Jun, 2015 10:46 am

Kateg28 wrote:Implementation of that strategy everywhere means we would not have Hatton Garden or Saville Row etc. There is evidence that suggests that if you have a successful takeaway, someone else will open near you and also be successful. Think of China Town...

There are 20 antique shops in Tetbury so I suspect they don't have a restriction on trades.


I understand what you are saying but these hubs are part of a much larger conurbation called London. I spent two pleasant years of my Banking career in Clerkenwell which in the 1980's was the centre of goldsmiths, silversmiths, jewellers and clockmakers. Also a pub called the Crown I think (memory slip) nicknamed the Clock House because it was chock full of clocks and run by Basil and wife (not Sybil I forget) and a sexy barmaid called Shandy - real name! As you can guess there was also a good sprinkling of pubs, cafes and sandwich bars.

When I first moved to Hertford at about that time it was also the centre of the antiques trade.Now few survive. During the mid 2000's I was stopped by people in the street and who also wrote to the Mercury complaining that Hertford was full of estate agents and charity shops. It wasn't. I had the database to prove it. The town was full of independent shops and an excellent hook on which to hang a marketing campaign.

Then it was good to stroll around town and have a cup of coffee or half of AK. These days it has been turned on its head and you can eat, drink and be merry but can't shop. When traders who have been here for some time say that there is nothing in Hertford to come here for you have to listen. I am advocating a balance that is all; maybe a lot to ask. I used to sit outside Serendipity and watch one half of other couples pop into Methvens for a book or Going Places and come out with a holiday brochure. Everything can thrive in this way but where do I go to get a pair of shoes.

mdja
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby mdja » Sat 01 Aug, 2015 10:37 pm

You could go to Roberto Gerrard. And I imagine Azir on Parliament Square has shoes, though I haven't been there. Possibly the clothes shop on Maidenhead street? Or you could go to the sports shop if you want sports shoes, though they don't seem too inclined to encourage custom there. For a wider selection try heading to Matalan, admittedly a five minute walk from the centre (or maybe ten minutes if your shoes are worn out). Or did you mean ladies shoes? I believe there are a number of independent womenswear boutiques in Hertford. For all the grumbling about coffee shops (yes, there are too many now but when I first came to Hertford 3 years ago, there were too few), hairdressers and the like, there are still a range of shops selling clothes right in the town centre. And shoes. Of course, if none of those are to your taste and/or price point, many of the charity shops sell a good range of second hand shoes.

SloopJohnB
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Re: Another Italian deli cafe

Postby SloopJohnB » Sun 02 Aug, 2015 12:20 pm

Next time I go for a stroll around town and people stop me and complain that there are no shoe shops in town I shall refer them to this post. Not to mention the number of ladies of a certain age who say there is nothing for them in town. Obviously these people are all walking around totally blind. When I moved here in 1980 there were at least six shoe shops ie shops that only sold shoes like Tru Form and Manfield. When Wrenbridge conducted their Regeneration survey this was the main complaint in Hertford. If you appreciate a challenge then try buying a baby's potty - its like a treasure trail, I have the map and know where the potty is hidden.

In 2007 there were 18 Hairdressers and 8 Beauty type salons (26 in total) and 2 footwear shops, 18 public houses, 33 eateries (51total). In January 2015 there were 39 Hair & Beauty outlets and 65 food and drink establishments and no shoe shops. Since January there has been an increase in the number of openings in these sectors. Many of these new openings have been at the expense of clothing retailers.

All this hasn't happened overnight. It is a slow process, an evolution. I'm not saying it is a bad thing - but the internet has played a part along with rent rises, rates, parking charges and loss of footfall. All these are of greater or lesser significance depending on what time of year you ask the question. Some retailers would get out now if they could; I know of a few who won't be around much longer and people will be wringing their hands in despair when they do go.

If you work elsewhere and come back to Hertford it is still one of the most pleasant places in the UK to live. If you have to live and work in the centre it is a slightly different story - it is matter of perspective and I do not wish to be patronising or disrespectful but if you'd been in my shoes for the last 15 years you'd know what I mean and that is why I need a new pair - desperately. :)


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