'There's enough trade to share' - Cromer mayor welcomes new branch of Costa to the town
PUBLISHED: 08:16 01 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:16 01 September 2018
The mayor of Cromer has welcomed a controversial new chain coffee shop to the town, saying there's enough business to go around.
Mayor David Pritchard cut the ribbons at the town’s new Church Street branch of Costa Coffee at its opening today, Friday, August 31.
The cafe opened its doors at 7am and had customers queuing outside at 6.30am.
Mr Pritchard said: “Coffee shops are the new pubs. They provide a meeting place for the under and over 18s, in a safe environment, with free wifi and no pressure to leave.”
Asked if he would be making use of the new Costa, Mr Pritchard said: “I worked in Norwich for 16 years and Costa was my coffee shop of choice.
“But equally in my wallet I have loyalty cards for Cafe Main, The Old Rock Shop Bistro, Breakers, and Huckleberries.”
He added: “Personally, I think it’s a positive thing for the town - it’s turned two empty shops into one large one.
“There’s no reason why Costa shouldn’t be successful here.
“People in Cromer are adaptable to change. I don’t expect people will abandon their favourite cafes.
“There’s still enough trade for everyone to share.”
Manager of the new Costa Coffee, John Gibbins, 26, said: “I was previously assistant manager at Costa in Sprowston so for me it’s a massive step up. “There was that controversy but it feels like we’ve been here for years already.”
He added: “Even though we’re a big brand, name, we still want that local coffee shop feel. We want to get involved with the community and local charities.”
And customers including couples and young families visited the chain on it’s first day in town.
Neil, from West Runton, said: “It’s got plenty of seating. It seems pleasant - it’s new so it’ clean.
“They just have to get up to speed on the service.”
And mum-of-two Jess from Cromer said: “It does have a lot of space which is quite good. When me and my friends go out together it’s hard to get [the pushchairs] into other coffee shops. I don’t like going to same place every time.”
Paul Thomas, owner of Huckleberries in Church Street, said: “We have got used to the idea now. We have always said that no one is forcing people to go in to the new Costa store.”
Last year, nearly 1,500 people signed a petition to keep the chain out of Cromer.