Wednesday 11 January 2012 1.04pm
I live just off TBR and I agree, it's not looking its best. I have my own reasons for why some of the businesses are not doing well or have gone bust, which of course people can agree or disagree with.
The supermarket between Costcutter and the roundabout
has been closed for ages. I'm not in the least bit surprised. Between Bermondsey Square
and the roundabout there are currently six - SIX! - supermarkets/convenience stores, including Tesco and Sainsbury's. So why open another unless you're going to do something radically different or much better? This shop did neither. I wish I could be more sympathetic, but seriously, what were they thinking?
. I very rarely see people eating in. Why? For the same reason I've never been inclined to eat there myself. The lighting is horrendous
. The room's interior decor is totally uninviting. All the most conspicuously so for being next to Tower Tandoori
, which has got it right.
New bike shop.
I wish it well, but from looking at it I'd charitably say that it's probably an example of banks not lending. Everything looks like it's been done on a shoestring, meaning that it doesn't compare favourably with other independent bike shops (especially in the borough of Hackney). It will need time and support to mature beyond looking like a shop in late '80s Romania (sorry!). But support it we must.
A confused place. I put it down to the signage. It's not a continental restaurant, is it? It's a cafe. Change the sign. But again, perhaps the owner has no money to do that and the banks won't lend. In which case, what can one do?
Another slightly confused place. The food was good but there are too many covers for what is a tricky-sized unit. Difficult to get the space right here. In the absence of funds to do the place up properly, the owner tended to overdress the tables. I think we're seeing the same problem; I'm sure he'd like to do more to the space, decoratively, but I doubt he's got the capital and I'm guessing... the banks won't lend.
Covered elsewhere on the forum but suffice to say, I've not been in for four years. What a decline.
Never saw anyone in there. Decorated like a Greek hospital waiting room. Everything about it looked totally untempting. That name did it no favours, either.
and the off-licence
near the roundabout. If I were a shopowner and I heard that Tesco was opening up near me, I'd be putting my thinking cap on to dream up ways to improve my offer. Survival in the face of a supermarket requires effort. So what have these two shops done? Nothing. Refurbishment, new signage, new layout, different stock? Nope, nothing. And in the case of Costcutter, the same old indifferent service. Convenience-store-owners complain when a supermarket opens near them, but hardly ever rise to the challenge or respond in any way other than to grumble about them.
I love the new owners - very friendly. The coffee's perfectly good and the place seems to be doing OK. Never been tempted by the food though, and I do miss even the small range of cakes in the 'old' Sobo.
Bottom line: the economy's been rubbish for over three years, there's no money, and banks aren't lending. So even if these store-owners actually do know perfectly well the importance of signage and shop design, I'm not sure there's much they can do.
I can't quite shake the feeling, though, that fledgling independent retailers in other parts of town are using limited resources a tad more inventively.