sharing news and views from Crouch End and Hornsey
My favourite convenience store has closed down this week. David's Superstore , 21 Broadway Parade was in darkness when I walked by the other day and all the goods were being moved inside. Apparently business was so slow it did not cover the electricity bill, so the shutters are now up.
I see from twitter that Solomon's has gone (Solomon 20th Century specialises in classic furniture from the fifties, sixties and seventies. Based in Crouch End, North London, we have a continually changing stock of furniture, lighting, collectables and works of art.) I haven't verified this for myself but I guess its true
And Elysian Fields (hairdresser opposite Budgen's) has gone. This is a real shocker. There is fierce competition to sell lemons and toilet paper so the failing convenience store might just be Darwinian survival. Maybe Solomon's is concentrating on its Tel Aviv store. But to judge by the number of beauty parlours newly opened I thought the self pampering business was something that thrived in a recession as hard pressed customers try to make themselves feel more cheerful.
This is what Elysian Fields looked like yesterday as a skiwear pop up
It's good to hear news of all the changes - there have been lots lately. I want to know what the new empty shop spaces on Coleridge Road are going to be. They were developed over a year ago and have been empty ever since.
One small business opened there last year, but because the owners are still completely rebuilding a row of houses above the shop space this business has had loads of leaks and a real headache. I feel sorry for them.
But surely, when all of the building work is done, these shop spaces will be prime spots for Crouch End - right by the King's Head. One of them is huge. I agree with the person who said there's a hole left by Woolworths for a general store - Tiger does that well.
I know a lot of people are against chains in Crouch End, and I share that view to a certain extent. However, I think there are some that would work in Crouch End like Lush, Pret a Manger (even with all the cafes and good supermarkets, simple, quality takeaway sandwiches are inexplicably hard to find). I also like the Diner (they have branches in Camden, Covent Garden and Islington).
Maybe I'm being naive, and if these places come to Crouch End, the small businesses that cross over with them will suffer. If that's the case though, I think they ought to look at what it is specifically that makes places like Lush and Pret work, and aim to do it themselves.
Also, a place to play snooker or pool is on my list of wants. I used to live in Balham and the Balham Bowls Club http://www.balhambowlsclub.com/ was a masterclass in how to open a successful bar that locals want to use. Absolutely everybody loves it, and its big enough to cope with the demand.
VERY NICE ............would love it
I'm afraid I think you are being naive - giants like Pret can supply v. cheap sandwiches because they are part of massive global concerns (I believe they are owned by McDonald's) - if you allow too many of these places in, they will undercut and eventually kill off the local businesses, who have to charge a little more. Personally I really don't need another cafe, but a Woolworth's type place would be great. Equally a kids' bookshop is not high on my list of priorities, nor is another beauty salon or hairdressers.... I shop locally all the time, but I'm wary of too many high end cafes and so on moving in and excluding those who cannot afford to shop in these kind of places. I haven't managed to visit the co-operative cafe I believe is operating on Stapleton Hall Road, but these kind of social enterprises also belong within our community.
OK, that makes sense - but Pret, cheap? Come again? I do agree that there are some cafes that exclude some people simply buy how much they charge. Worst for this in Crouch End, I think, is Gail's. Lovely place but unjustifiable prices.
I do agree with the poster who said that there is obviously a demand for cafes. How else can you explain not being able to get a seat in some of them at lunch time, even on a weekday? I work from home, and know lots of others in the area who also do. There are probably loads of us. These places are a real saviour for breaking up the day and doing a bit of work in a different location. Or starting the day there before coming back to work. Plus all the young families in the area at home all say looking after kids - the cafes are eveidently great for them too. I prefer the independents, and use them mostly - but laso use the chains from time to time - especially if I fancy sitting in the window on a stool. Why don't the others do that well? Missing a trick, I think.
I love the tool shop in Crouch End, and would use it over places like Homebase any day. The guys in there know about stuff and you can get advice, and buy only what you need. They don't sell everything overpriced and in multi packs so you have to buy four of everything.
I love the fruit and veg stores. I love Dunns. I love Banners. But you've said nothing to convince me that one or two decent 'chains' where there's a gap in services provided (like a general store like Tiger instead of a generic crappy pound shop type place) would grind small businesses in Crouch End into the ground. I think that underestimates how strong the communtiy is here.
From what I can gather, landlords pushing up prices on bad advice from property managers, have more to answer for in that sense.
I'd like to ask everyone again... Does anyone know what's happening with the empty Coleridge Road spaces?
Echoing some of the positive comments about new businesses opening in Crouch End I would like to introduce our new solicitors firm DP Cameron.
Located at 43 Topsfield Parade (opposite the Queens Pub) we can also be found at http://www.dpcameron.co.uk/ and on Twitter @DPCameronSols.
We will be more than interesting in assisting with community activities and initiatives to benefit the local area.
Could one or two of you turn out for this http://opinion8.ning.com/forum/topics/photoshoot-at-the-old-british... its just around the corner