|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 01:26 pm: |
saw this posted on sydenham forum (the sender is currently waiting for access to se23.com) could be the answer we have been waiting for!
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 02:28 pm: |
looks like Kiwi100 has already been reading our SE23.com threads (Hi Kiwi100!!!)
If someone is prepared to take the plunge, I'll support it (as long as the coffee is good). If Kiwi100 is actually a Kiwi, then the coffee ought to be good as they are well known for having a decent understanding of coffee in NZ (no idea why, but I have it on good authority).
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 03:07 pm: |
I definitely think that Forest Hill would benefit from a good coffee shop. The posts on Sydenham's site are correct that Organic Republic was a short-lived venture. However, this wasn't due to a lack of demand, but instead the owner's lack of research on the area (her other shop was near Piccadilly); nowhere to sit or park a pushchair; no advertising - it looked permanently closed; very bad coffee - the staff hadn't a clue how to operate the coffee machine; and, lastly, they had chosen a bad spot that didn't lend itself to the same passing trade levels that the McDonald's or Aceri site would offer. Unfortunately, in spite of huge local support prior to opening, it was a lesson on how not to open a business, which was a pity.
Potential investors only need to see Dartmouth Arm's success - I was there last Thursday evening and it was almost full, which is quite an achievement for early January - and the passing trade from the station, Sainsbury's and the Horniman to recognise the potential of the area; just don't open a coffee shop on the corner of the south circular (the Blue Mountain) or in a building that only seats eight people.
Good luck, Kiwi100. The area definitely would welcome you.
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 03:33 pm: |
I agree Rob
I turned up to try it out at about 11.00 am on a Sunday and not only was it closed but no sign to say the opening hours
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 03:34 pm: |
'I'm in, so is my wife!', to borrow a line from a classic. The Aceri would be ideal. Plenty of room and I assume a minimal cost to set up as the basic room is there. It doesn't need to be flash, it just needs character. Also plenty of passing trade from Sainsbury's and people walking up to The Horimans (who incidentally need to improve their hospitally - staff wonderful, food dismally microwaved).
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 03:37 pm: |
How do we get in touch with Kiwi100? The demand is so huge in Forest Hill its unreal. Also after Lewisham is most popular rail station so imagine the potential for commuters "picking up a latte" for the train ride into town. Aceri would be no.1 spot, but ideally if they bought out William Hill as this is a blot on the Forest Hill landscape of shops, I have to say.
Aaaaanyway, Kiwi100 get yourself to Forest Hill!
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 03:54 pm: |
Kiwi100 has received a login so we assume will be posting.
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 04:04 pm: |
I posted posted on Sydenham town forum but also wanted to post here:
There is definitely a desire for a coffee shop in Forest Hill and as long as it is located on the main roads (Dartmouth or London) then you should have a good number of customers all day long.
There are a number of possible sites (next to Sainsburys, next to Boots, old McDonalds, and possibly opposite Sainsburys). The Forest Hill Society were planning to approach coffee shops in the wider area or coffee chains to make clear the opportunity of a site in Forest Hill (the second busiest station in South East London according to some figures and likely to become busier with the East London Line coming). Of course if you are serious about setting up in Forest Hill then we would want to support you rather than looking for existing businesses coming into the area.
I would not disagree that Sydenham would also benefit from, and be able to support a coffee shop, but Forest Hill is probably a better opportunity for you to get started in the local area. Of course I am biased as I live in Forest Hill, but I expect if you don't take up the opportunity present in Forest Hill, somebody else (probably a chain) will come in. Now is the best time to establish an independent coffee shop in Forest Hill!
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 07:26 pm: |
Thanks for your comments, it gives me a lot to work on and very helpful. Right the good news is that I have finalised the negotiation of the lease so looks like it definately will be happening.
The shop, wait for it, is going to be where the former Organic Republic and before you all go, oh no its too small, the kitchen area at the back will be opened up to seat people as I have no intention of major cooking in the shop more like coffees, juices, (wheatgrass for those who are brave, paninis etc. Aceru's owner is charging way too much rent for it so unaffordable.
A little about me have worked in IT for absolutely years and hate it now and after living in Sydney for a year and seeing how people live and eat a lot more healthier than we do wanted to try that concept here hence the idea of a coffee shop Juice Bar.
Please let me know the ideal things you would like and I will try to incorporate it
I was told that the previous owner has gone to Prison for Fraud by the way, not sure how true this is but just wanted to let you know.
Thanks everyone and when I open free there will be a free day so everyone can have a chance to try it out.
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 07:49 pm: |
Well, if the decision is taken, then I for one wish you lots of luck. Bar Italia in Soho has the tiniest of spaces and not only is one of the best coffees in London, it is probably very profitable. It is in Soho though.
One thought, from a marketing point of view. Forest Hill is "up and coming" (or at least we are trying) and is not yet filled with the types you will see more of in East Dulwich. Your most likely profitable target market, as was mentioned above by Haylands, particularly during the week when most of us are working, are those visiting the Horniman. That means families. That means strollers. That means groups. Make sure you take that into account in your planning for the space if you can.
Are you a local resident? If not, what attracted you to Forest Hill if I may ask?
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 08:14 pm: |
Yes, I agree with Robwinton. Your target market during the week is the hundreds of young parents with nowhere to go other than the Horniman.
I do think that the space is workable, but you should be aiming for a minimum of 25 seats; the old layout had, I think, only 8-10 seats with no room for pushchairs. The other key thing about coffee shops, if you look at chains etc, is having all the prime seating by the window. That draws more people into the shop and allows people to get into the shop, rather than trying to fit all the till area near the front door with nowhere for people to queue.
Very best of luck with your shop. I will definitely pay you a visit.
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 08:42 pm: |
Hi Rob and Robwinton,
I agree with you both, the area at the back of the shop that I am proposing using is quite large and could seat approx 20 people, I am not sure what was in Organic before for seating as I never went there was out of the country but I can see that it looks quite a small area I think with the right seating at the front near the windows, I am thinking sofas for the front but will have to see. WOW this is really good, you guys are telling me what you want and in some ways you are creating it yourself, thanks for your input.
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 10:18 pm: |
well, if we are having THAT much influence, can you give us a clue as to what coffee you will be using? That is key!!!!
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 10:32 pm: |
Is there space in front of this site for a few tables and chairs in the summer? I know it is on the south circular, but if it is where I am thinking it might not be the worst place to sit with a cup of coffee.
As well as drinks a few cakes/muffins/pastries are always good. Provender in Dartmouth Road makes exceedingly good cakes and if you are not making your own cakes it would be lovely if they supplied locally baked produce for your cafe (as well as their own), although their might be a problem with you being competitors even if you are at opposite ends of Dartmouth Road.
Would it be possible to suggest that the coffee should be fair trade? I'm not sure how much of an issue this is for most people, but I just think it is good business to buy fair trade coffee and it is not much more expensive than good quality non-fair trade coffee.
I have to admit that I may not be one of your main customers as I rarely drink coffee and I usually wait to finish my commuting before I stop to have breakfast, but I think there are many people who will be loyal customers to a decent coffee shop.
Thanks for sharing your plans with us and I wish you every success with your shop.
|Posted on Tuesday, 16 January, 2007 - 11:35 pm: |
Would recommend a little research into business in the area that have failed, and why. We are all very optimistic and supportive but there have been a lot of businesses set up without being properly thought out or having enough investment, which have not lasted too long.
Best of luck. Promise I'll use it if it is any good as is on my way to work.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 08:46 am: |
Michael is quite right. Trading conditions in this area are difficult. You will only succeed here if you do your homework very thoroughly, and also have a realistic plan . Also, people who have succeeded here usually have had much experience in the relevant area of business. I spoke to one successful local entrepreneur when he was setting up. I was very impressed both by the level of experience in running his type of establishment, by the amount of market analysis he had done, by his thorough planning, and also by the scale of investment involved.
You certainly can succeed in Forest Hill, but only if you adopt the above approach.
As to why businesses fail here, I think one of the reasons is the massive over-supply of retail premises. There are over 150 retail premises in Forest Hill centre. Given the smallish catchment area it would require everyone in the area to spend a great deal of money to sustain them all. Unless your household is prepared to spend a £100-150 a week or so in small local shops, do not be surprised if we have a lot of transient businesses.
I'm not sure why people think Lewisham's economic development people are a significant factor in this. Their ability to influence things is limited. (I think there are questions about strategy, but that is another matter.)
So far as rents are concerned, I'd be very surprised if the owners of the old MacDo's and Aceri site really expect anyone to take the shops on at very high rentals. I would imagine that they will be aiming for redevelopment in due course, and going through preliminary processes of building a case. Mind you, a good redevelopment on those sites might be what we need - conservation area or not.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 09:45 am: |
Well, criticisms of strategy are valid David. Lewisham does not seem to have shown much recognition of the problems of our town centre, still less leadership towards a solution.
It is misguided to think that market forces must provide the solution, because there is not a free market. It is not as if landlords all want to keep their shops empty (although some will); it is not as if land in the area is worthless. But we have a "town centre" with an excessive area designated as retail use which serves to impede more productive redevelopment.
Plus, when did a one-sided High St ever work? Even Princes St looks a bit sad these days.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 10:02 am: |
A good redevelopment is exactly what's needed. The retail space in both outlets is arguably far too big. a full redevelopment whereby more residential space is let and the retaill space is smaller (but not tiny) seems to me to be a solution.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 10:03 am: |
Hi, I agree that in Forest Hill a lot of businesses have come and gone, this is a concern for me. From what I have read about comments re Organic and from what I have seen on the layout of the shop I do not think that it would fair well as it did not have the right ambience about it or the right seating.
The location is not the greatest being on the south circular however in summer there is a lot of people that take that route for Hornimans so I dont see it as a major issue.
I agree that having experience in this area is very important which is why I am working with someone that does have this experience as my background is very much IT related.
What I intend for the cafe is a nice atmosphere with good food and nice coffee which is going to be fair trade by the way. I will do my best with the fit out and it will be nice and comfortable but I have a limited budget for this and I dont see Lewisham Council throwing money at me for doing this ! I do think that there should be more support for people trying to make the area better from local Councils as if there was, surely there would already be a decent coffee shop in Forest Hill.
In an ideal world I would of course like this to be a roaring success but I am a realist and will have to wait and see what happens, I mean if starbucks suddenly open I would be finished !
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 10:21 am: |
If you listen to people on this forum and market your business amply then I think you will do very well Kiwi. I don't think it's imperative that you have experience in the industry as long as you do the research and your business model is tight.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 10:27 am: |
I don't think starbucks would touch any other premises in Forest Hill right now unless as Bosco says one of the bigger units was redeveloped and reduced in size.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 02:27 pm: |
Have just heard there is a new wine bar/coffee shop opening at aceri, this sort of throws me off a bit I am going to have to reconsider this.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 02:28 pm: |
We're all right behind you Kiwi100, I just hope the shop you've found is big enough, does have room outside for seating and has pushchair access as this is key.
Do you have an opening date pencilled in?
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 03:28 pm: |
new wine bar/coffee shop opening at aceri- Kiwi100 - where did you hear this news from?
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 03:46 pm: |
Heard the news from the owner itself
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 03:54 pm: |
Kiwi, they may be trying to put you off, since it may affect the rentability of the more expensive Aceri unit...does my bum look cynical in this?
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 04:39 pm: |
Interestingly (well, for some), many of the major coffee chains prefer to open near one another.
|Posted on Wednesday, 17 January, 2007 - 10:58 pm: |
Brings to mind a certain story about buses and waiting for ages ...
Sounds like bad news, but if the rent was really that high, then they must have a different business model to make it work.
However, it certainly makes it difficult for two start up businesses (assuming this is not a chain) to try and establish themselves at the same time.
Kiwi100, your advantage here is that you have got us on your side by polling our opinions and listening to concerns, so that hopefully will help out.
Depending on how it is done, a Wine Bar/Coffee Shop will not necessarily want to attract groups of families on weekends, or gatherings of parents and kids during the week. Nor might those parents want to hang out in a place that is a 'boozer', however classy, at night. That is a problem I have certainly encountered as a parent.
On the other hand, to be honest, I like the sound of a place focused on wine, of course (am I selling out already??)
Haylands, I love that saying, must find a way to use it soon.
Kiwi, please keep us updated. And good luck!
|Posted on Thursday, 18 January, 2007 - 09:23 am: |
I suggest that an individual business run by a proprietor who is in touch with his/her customers and gives them what they want is more likely to succeed than a franchise operation that is always a duplicate of every other coffee shop in the chain.
You could get in first and build up a group of loyal customers.
|Posted on Thursday, 18 January, 2007 - 10:05 am: |
There is no reason why two or more good cafes cannot co-exist in Forest Hill. I know this is a dirty word on this forum but if you look at Clapham there are several independent cafes and chains all existing cheek by jowl on the high street and they all seem to do a roaring trade. Yes, I know that there is probably not the same level of affluence in FH as in Clapham (yet) but 15 yearsor so ago Clapham was a total dump (some might argue it still is...)
|Posted on Thursday, 18 January, 2007 - 11:19 am: |
You're all quite right. Closer to home you can see the success of East Dulwich. Its what they call a destination high st. There are many coffee shops and places to eat. It gives the consumer choice, which is healthy. If one place is full, they know they can go somewhere close by for an alternative. People begin to come from outside the area because of the choice, which further increases FH sphere of influence. As long as each owner trys to have their own unique selling point (USP), the product is good, friendly/efficient staff and most importantly to listen to their customers, the odds are stacked in your favour. If you're good, people will keep coming back.
|Posted on Wednesday, 31 January, 2007 - 06:55 pm: |
Kiwi, how about opening somewhere on Honor Oak Park. With the nice shops already there I think this could very much a kind of 'niche' destination street, plus you'd have loads of passing trade, It would be perfect alongside the Deli/into the fushia/Tapastry/jumping bean and the trendy little light shop! I think you'd do well.
|Posted on Thursday, 01 February, 2007 - 01:41 pm: |
I think a coffee shop in forest hill or honor oak park would do very well.....this area is crying out for something like that! preferably quite spacious for buggies, light and airy. Not sure there are too many sites in the area that offer lots of room though
|Posted on Thursday, 01 February, 2007 - 02:09 pm: |
The old McDonald's site? Aceri is probably too big for a coffee shop.
|Posted on Friday, 02 February, 2007 - 03:59 pm: |
If you are planning to do smoothies, I'll be in there every morning.
|Posted on Monday, 26 February, 2007 - 04:33 pm: |
Kiwi100, can I assume from your prolonged silence that you "reconsidered" this and have changed your mind? Does anyone have any news on this?