A Letter from Nantwich                               

July 2006  (Updated April  2017)                                                                                                                       

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 new outlets in vogue are the coffee shops. (Charity shops are close behind - but that is another story.

   In 2017 we have 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 and someone who is in the survey business or who has time on their hands may question my opinion.

    Most of the coffee shops appear to be surviving which suggests that there is a need for them. But it seems strange that a small town like Nantwich - tourist magnet though it is - should need so many.

   I mean, we are not Chester, York, or any of the other tourist attractions, which - being much bigger, of course - need a large number.

  Although, since I first wrote this item, I have found that many other towns have an awful lot of coffee shops.

   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 floor and sell coffee, with all the extras, of course.

   Other shop owners, obviously having done their market research, decided they could do the same and more and more premises followed suit.

   There was a drive at one time for upper floors to be used for accommodation - 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 being dealt with.

   That is probably one reason why some shop owners preferred to use the space upstairs for a coffee shop.  

   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 as a coffee shop on every street. Some streets don't have any. 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. 

   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. And on Saturdays, the Parish Hall across the way is the venue for local organisations to hold coffee mornings . . .

   Another church premises to serve coffee is the Methodist Centre in Hospital Street. Formerly the  schoolrooms of the church across the road, it now houses both buildings.

   One "coffee shop" goes under the different name of a Tea Shoppe! A previous proprietor, when it was called Inglenook Tea Shoppe, genial Bob Hope (yes, that's his real name) told me he 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. The shop later (2012) became Molly's Tea Shoppe after having other owners in between.

   Just for the record, the pictures on this page are not an indication of the quality of the drinks on sale. They were placed randomly as the page evolved and the size and shape of the images is simply according to how I took them.

   When I was researching the coffee shop phenomenon I asked for a list of coffee shops in the town to make sure I wasn't missing any out. The source - I won't name them for obvious reasons - said no, they didn't have a list. In any case, the shops tended to come and go.

   In February 2014, the one over Bratt's ladies shop in Churchyardside did just that and closed.

   Although it is named as Teresa's Ice Cream Parlour, it lists coffee as one of a number of items it sells, so I'm including it in this list of coffee shops! Of course, all the "coffee shops" have all kinds of drinks and food on their menues.

    The latest coffee shop (March, 2017) is Miss Marmalade's in Pepper Street. Off the top of my head I'm sure it was two premises previously.

Pillory House and Coffee Shop, Pillory Street

Chatwin's main shop (one of many in the area), on The Square

 

McCormick's,

Pepper Street

Harvey's Pepper Street sandwich bar

COFFEE SHOP CLOSED

Ginger and Pickles,

Mill Street

Chatwin's (the bakers) Pepper Street premises which includes a coffee shop

Nantwich Book Shop in High Street with a restaurant and coffee shop

Bratt's ladies outfitters,

Churchyardside

The Visitors' Centre,

St Mary's Church

A. T. Welch, Hospital Street

Le Cafe de Paris, Hospital Street

The Parish Hall opposite St Mary's

Costa, Church Lane

Aroma Cafe Bar, Hospital Street

Molly's Tea Shoppe, Pillory Street

Caffe Nero, High Street

The Methodist Centre, Hospital Street

Coffee shop at M and S Food Hall

Teresa's Ice Cream Parlour

Bloom, Pillory Street

Miss Marmalade's, in Pepper Street

But some coffee shops leave the town scene . . .

NOT counting the pubs and hotels that sell coffee along with their alcoholic drinks, but including the twice-a-week coffee venue in Nantwich Methodist Church Centre, there are currently (May 2017) 19 coffee shops in Nantwich.

   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 had not been able to do as well as they  hoped and were reluctantly pulling out of Nantwich.

   However, the charity is now planning to open a new shop in Pepper Street.

   Another shop, Hilton's Cafe in Beam Street, closed in 2017.

   The Parish Hall that is opposite St Mary's Parish Church is hired by organisations for the sale of coffee on Saturday mornings. So although it is one venue is has at least 50 different groups a year selling coffee. 

 

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