This week Costa coffee decided not to go ahead with their planned store opening in Totnes despite having planning permission approved by the local Council. This is a great win for independents and for the people of Totnes who want their high street to maintain a good mix of predominantly independent shops. I guess this shows the power of the small voice and that people’s opinions to the high street chains is changing and changing fast.
The independents are on the rise delivering better customer service and a better quality product, I predict a painful few years for the high street chains as our high streets are gradually won back. I for one want to walk down a high street with an identity, not wonder which town I am in because they all look the same.
The challenge for us growing independents is that once we have 3 stores we are officially classed as a chain, a long way from Costa’s 1900 but still a chain. How do we grow but maintain our independent roots and how do we take our customers on that journey with us. Lots of our early customers (early adopters) will probably not come on the journey with us they will probably move to the next new independent shop but that is part of the maturity cycle of any business.
Check out the No to Costa website for more details on the Totnes story