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New Shops / Restaurants in SE23

Author Message
Joined 04-02-2007
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 08:02 am:   

Hi All,
The old McDonalds site looks like it has been closed for some time now. I have read the previous threads about all local folk wanting to have something decent in its place, which I completely agree with. My thoughts would be something along the lines of Strada a smart, modern italian eatery. It costs in the region of £100,000 to set up a franchise type operation - how about we as residents make something like this happen, it would improve the area and would also be a good investment for all involved. 100 x £1000 investment is surely do-able. Just a thought that I would put out there!
Joined 04-02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 28 February, 2007 - 08:48 am:   

Hate to pour water on ideas for local start-ups but finding 100 local people willing to invest in an unknown, untested business is highly unrealistic. It would also be a logistical nightmare. Presumably you are looking to run it Tersie? I think there is a space for a decent run Italian and strada is a highly successful chain but to raise finance you would need to go to the bank, get a few big investors and/or use your own capital depending on your own resources and previous experience in running similar businesses. The McDonalds premises is a large one compared to most retail spaces in FH and needs substantial capital and an experienced management team to make any start-up there a success.
Joined 04-02-2007
Posted on Thursday, 01 March, 2007 - 10:30 pm:   

Hi Forester, I know it is a tall order and I fully understand all your points...I put the idea out as an example as this is something I have seen working very well (albeit on a smaller scale in a town I lived in in New Zealand) Folk were fed up with a derelict shop and clubbed together and invested in a decent coffee shop and restaurant. Given the fact it was owned wholly by local folk it was busy and profitable for all involved. I would be happy to invest in such a venture(if I saw a good business plan first or course - I would not be a complete mug!!) I have been in the hospitality trade myself extensively over the years but would not necessarily look at running such a venture myself but the concept itself is good I think....In a nutshell I think it would be nice to see something decent there - however the reality is we may still be talking about it in 5 years time on this forum and it will still be empty. I guess we all live in hope that someone will do something to improve it.
Joined 08-05-2005
Posted on Friday, 02 March, 2007 - 11:13 am:   

Tersie, I agree with you that, to rescue our high street, we need to look at creative solutions. Forest Hill has a tradition of strong community action although you have to search it out these days. Are you prepared to do some further research on your initial proposal and report back on this forum? Talking to the town’s Traders Association might be a good starting point. I am prepared 1) to invest some of my own time and abilities in helping to produce a business plan and 2) to risk £1000/2000 of my money in developing a community project along the lines you suggest. That leaves only another 98 people to persuade! If you need further encouragement, see the thread on the Virtual Norwood forum about how people power persuaded Sainsbury’s to take over an empty shop site.
Joined 07-06-2006
Posted on Friday, 02 March, 2007 - 11:15 am:   

97 and counting.

We'll see about the money (let's see a plan and budget first) but any time and expertise I can offer are available.
Joined 23-02-2005
Posted on Friday, 02 March, 2007 - 11:43 am:   

Tersie has a good point there. A logistical nightmare admittedly but you would be starting a business with 100 regular customers plus friends/family etc presumably. I'm sure amongst the 100 there would be enough skills to get a business off the ground without huge fees. Interesting.
Joined 31-05-2006
Posted on Friday, 02 March, 2007 - 02:15 pm:   

A nice Italian eatery would be welcome. I often thought a Pizza Express would be ideal (in fact I thought the Launderette was a perfect site for them - before I learned of the historical significance of the launderette).

But - another restaurant?? It would be so nice to have a bookstore or something other than another place to eat. Borders is maybe the kind of thing (but that is very corporate/'global').

I don't have an answer but it would be good to expand aspirations beyond food outlets.

Oh, and I would happily chip in to the right project.
Joined 19-04-2005
Posted on Saturday, 03 March, 2007 - 01:01 pm:   

96 and counting

I for one would welcome an italian type restaurant or pizzeria and would be willing to chip in, I cant see the bookshop being quite so attractive financially though. It is depressing that neither the old aceri or macdonalds have been replaced and the sucess of some recent ventures would suggest that there are opportunities here for the right idea.....
Joined 04-02-2007
Posted on Sunday, 04 March, 2007 - 08:39 pm:   

Hi Everyone, thanks for all your points and interest, i think that getting a group of people together to start such a venture is quite creative and I am happy to do more research to see how do-able this would be in SE23. I do think a bookshop / maybe ajoining coffee shop would be lovely but as Drobnik said it may not be as profitable, but having a "community owned" shop is not all about profit although the more profit the better I guess! Scipio - what you said about West Norwood is interesting. Another approach without having to invest in a venture would be to contact companies we feel could add value to the high street (to inform them of the vacant units as potential sites as they do not always have visibility of potentially good sites) Thoughts?
Joined 30-01-2007
Posted on Monday, 05 March, 2007 - 12:37 pm:   

I would just like to say I wish you all a lot of good luck. As a business owner in SE23 I am encouraged by so much support from locals,, but also dismayed that many do not appreciate the gagantuan efforts it takes to get it off the ground and sustain it. Well done all of you who are actually prepared to put your money where your mouth is, whether it comes off or not. That's what sites like this are for so do not be put off by the negativity that often comes from people who are all pants and no action. Owner of Bar Equal, Honor Oak.
Joined 08-05-2005
Posted on Monday, 05 March, 2007 - 07:19 pm:   

Tersie, I am glad you recognise the merit in Forest Hillers trying to persuade an existing business with a successful track record to open a branch in our town, rather than trying to start up entirely from scratch on our own. Strada has an existing branch in Blackheath and should be on our list of potential businesses to approach.

Southern Lewisham Town Centre Manager Julie Sutch would be the person to contact but given her workload, it may take some time to get an appointment. (Catherine2 is meeting her next week about other premises – see Aceri thread).

In the meantime, from the website the following information can be accessed easily:

1.To find out about the McDonald’s premises, click the Links option, select Forest Hill Town, click on Shopping & Business Search, and input your request for details of the premises direct to Lewisham Council.

2.Click Forum, select VirtualNorwood Forum then Local News for more on the sustained campaign by local residents to get another supermarket operating on the closed Safeways/ Morrison site on Westow Hill, Crystal Palace. This community project successfully encouraged Sainsbury’s to open their new branch here in August 2006.

There will still be a need for funding our campaign and my cash offer therefore stands, provided we get more than four people committed to getting this off the ground! Is anyone else willing to offer to help? Suggest we then arrange to meet up to discuss further.
Joined 04-02-2007
Posted on Monday, 05 March, 2007 - 10:43 pm:   

Ana..thanks for your comments and support - being in the industry myself over the years I am under no illusion of how tough a start up is... however I def think it is about time that we try and be a bit more creative about improving the areas shops, if that means investment in the right business than so be it ;-) Scipio thanks for all your feedback. I too have been reading Catherine2's thread with interest and yes Julie would be a good point of contact. I am in the process of making calls to find out some more info about the McDonalds site. I am also drawing up a shortlist of contacts in potential businesses to contact. I think a campaign to support any business coming to the area / or indeed a new start up with potential local investment is definately needed. I will post later in the week. Cheers all.
Joined 09-04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 07 March, 2007 - 04:33 pm:   

I think some market research to approach the companies with would be a good idea. I think you would only need a few hundred positive replies. This would be simple in that you could conduct this at the train station over a few mornings/ evenings where there is easily over a few thousand boarding a train into town. I am by no means a market research expert...but something along the lines of "would you approve of an italian restaurant opening on London Road...would you use it?"

I think there would be a resounding yes.
Joined 04-02-2007
Posted on Thursday, 08 March, 2007 - 10:41 pm:   

Hi Djnever,
Good point, funny you should say that for I am a freelance research consultant specialising in different markets and due dilligence work so would def be (and have been)looking into exactly this. Have been busy on number of other things but intend to contact some companies and talk to local folk to see what can be acheived.

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