A Letter from Nantwich                               

Revised May 2021                                                                                                                       

There's an awful lot of (good) coffee in town

THERE was a time when you couldn't move in Nantwich for antiques shops, but nowadays the outlets in vogue are the coffee shops

   In 2017 we had many new types of shops finding they can attract customers and it would seem that in the lead are ladies' hairdressing salons and then fashions shops. I haven't done an actual survey on this.

   It seems strange that a small town like Nantwich - tourist magnet though it is - should need so many coffee shops. I mean, we are not Chester, York, or any of the other tourist attractions, which - being much bigger, of course - need a large number.

   At one time there was the odd place that served coffee - apart from restaurants. Then, shops set up for one type of commodity would open up an unused upper floor and sell coffee, with all the extras, of course.

    More premises followed suit.

   There was a drive at one time for upper floors to be used for accommodation, and if the owners didn't want to "live over the shop" there were plenty of people who did, it was argued.

   I am not sure what became of that. Clearly some people do live in flats in the centre of town, although others are put off by the rowdies who invade the town at weekends.

   For the record, this is constantly being dealt with,

 

but that is probably one reason why some shop owners preferred to use the space upstairs for a coffeeshop.

   The fact that even with so many coffee outlets there are times when you cannot get a table for love nor money proves the need for the service.

   Not that there is a coffee shop on every street. Some streets don't have any while Pillory Street has three.

   When the local newspaper, The Nantwich Chronicle, closed its Nantwich office in Mill Street, the premises were snapped up. Not for another office, but for a coffee shop. 

   And when a coffee shop closes down - as happened during the 2020/2021 coronavirus pandemic - it is not another coffee shop that takes its place. In fact, when one closed in 2021 a "high fashion London ladies' boutique".snapped up the lease.    

   One place that sells coffee is a shop in name only. The Church Shop - more correctly the Visitors' Centre - in the porch of Nantwich Parish Church is a small venue for the sale of coffee and other drinks. (But not alcohol!)

   Its main sales are church booklets, guide books, postcards, a range of greetings cards, and more. The church authorities are now planning to create a shop inside the church in order to expand what is available with an area for coffee, etc.

 

   To be fair, I should state that another church premises to serve coffee is the Methodist Centre in Hospital Street. That also has a range of other snacks.

   One "coffee shop" went under the different name of a Tea Shoppe! A previous proprietor, genial Bob Hope (yes, that's his real name) told me that that was the only tea shop in the county. It seems that to be able to use that description you have to sell at least 10 different teas as loose leaf. Those tea bags will not do.

   One well-known organistion that had a coffee shop, etc, in the town centre was St Luke's (Cheshire) Hospice of Winsford. A notice appeared on the window of their three-storey building in March 2017 saying they had opened their Swirly Whirly's premises with the obvious aim of making money for the charity.

   But they were not able to do as well as they hoped and were reluctantly pulling out of Nantwich. However, they eventually opened a new shop elsewhere in town but no longer sell coffee.

   With a couple of exceptions I haven't named all the coffee shops to avoid this Letter looking like an advertising feature. Then again, I would have had to be fair and write Letters about all the other businesses.

 

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