A COSTA coffee shop in Henley-in-Arden would ‘destroy’ Henley Ice Cream Parlour, according to the woman running the shop that’s been on the High Street since 1934.
Cindy Brittan believes the Costa planned for the empty HSBC Bank on High Street will kill a lot of trade that currently comes to independent traders.
She said: “These big, greedy corporate operations are already helping to kill the city centre high streets, we do not want them in small market towns like Henley.”
Costa, who applied to open a store in Henley earlier this month, made national headlines last year when they were forced to abandon similar plans for an outlet in the Devon town of Totnes after locals ferociously campaigned against it.
Cindy, who has worked at the ice cream parlour for 20 years, is hoping for a repeat of that victory.
Because Henley Ice Cream relies on coffee and cake sales in winter, she said: “If Costa opened up here we would probably have to close for six months a year, and that would destroy us.”
She says it’s not just her shop that will suffer, but also the pubs who now sell coffee in the morning, and food outlets.
And she dismissed the argument that a new Costa - which has 1,400 outlets in the UK - would create jobs, saying any new jobs would be lost when other shops closed down as a result.
The ice cream parlour Managing Director reckons times are already hard enough. “We have had days during this winter where we have taken less than £20,” she said.
A decision on the new Costa is due in April but there are people in the town who want it.
Rachel Gray, owner of High Street fashion boutique, Studio 34, said: “Obviously I like to see the local businesses do well and I will always support them, but if you asked me truthfully, I would love a Costa.”
But Cindy is determined to keep her town the way it is: “Henley is very unique in having mainly independent retailers - lets try and keep it that way - do we want to lose the village feel.”
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