Bosses of the Caleys Cocoa Café said they were focusing on their main outlet in the Guildhall after taking the decision to close their White Lion Street store.

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Director Roger King said doors shut at White Lion Street for the last time on Saturday with the loss of two jobs.

He said high business rates and rents in the city centre finally put paid to the venture, which had opened in 2010 because despite a huge number of people walking past the shop, it had never managed to turn a profit.

“We have been there for two-and-a-half years and we have never made any money throughout that whole period,” Mr King said. “It was down to the rents and the rates, which are astronomically high in that area. The closure comes less than a month after the Union Yard tea and coffee shop on the corner of St Stephens Street and Surrey Street closed its doors, with owner Steven Winter blaming rent and business rate rises for the decision.

Mr King urged the city council and landlords to take action to help businesses during the current economic climate, otherwise there could be more empty shops.

“We tried to negotiate with the landlords and the rating office, but neither of them were prepared to move,” he added. “We were losing money and we decided it was crazy to carry on with it. I know of several businesses who say the rents and rates are too high. People need to live in the real world because for a lot of businesses it’s just not something you can sustain.

“The rates in that area are about £20,000 a year. When we first looked at it we thought that because the footfall was incredible we would be able to live with it.

“But when you add the rent on top of that, you’ve got to sell an awful lot of teas and coffees before you start to break even.

“It’s a shame, but we are passionate about Caleys.” And he stressed the decision would have no impact on the main branch in the Guildhall, and Caleys was also introducing a table waitressing service.

“We are fully committed to that,” he said. “We are passionate about Caleys and want to keep it going and we are talking to the council about renewing our lease.”

Are rates and rents hurting your business? Contact Shaun Lowthorpe on 01603 772471 or email shaun.lowthorpe@archant.co.uk

15 comments

  • Average product served in a less than inspiring setting. Other coffee shops are providing much much more for your money. No need to wonder why this place has closed.

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    NigelS

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Business rates are paid to central government not the local authority. In return the business gets nothing in return. It is simply a tax on business. Remove business rates and the government would immediately give a boost to jobs and the high street that it claims it wants to do.

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    Ne Absiste

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • John L Norton

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Another coffee shop closing? I am not suprised...there are too many in Norwich.There are not enough people to support all these shops.Just because there is a high footfall passed the shop, does notmean people will come in. Looking at the rate bill, you will need to sell a lot drinks With the current economic climate , people cannot afford luxeries.

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    lucy

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Another coffee shop closing? I am not suprised...there are too many in Norwich.There are not enough people to support all these shops.Just because there is a high footfall passed the shop, does notmean people will come in. Looking at the rate bill, you will need to sell a lot drinks With the current economic climate , people cannot afford luxeries.

    Report this comment

    lucy

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Sad to see another business close - but there are a lot of cafe's in the city centre and unless you are competitive on pricing or have something else to draw customers in - you will struggle! As to the high rents they are now earning nothing from a empty shop....go figure!

    Report this comment

    kevin rymell

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • The White Lion Cafe located on a second floor is doing famously,just a few doors down from Caleys

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    Albert Cooper

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Rates & rents are high in the city,but not substantially higher than when this business opened.It's very easy to blame business failure on costs , but I would suggest in this case where those costs where known , it's a bit of a red herring.

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Dragon fly-perhaps it is because the 70p an hour car parking deters those who drive in from lingering longer. And the fact that the independent which made a decent cup of coffee has shut. If you know another post away. Palmers are a treasure but their coffee could do with a bit of work.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I noticed three independent cafes in Yarmouth city centre , had very little trade at about 11am , last week . Of course , the overheads are so high , and national chains grab a lot of the custom .

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    dragonfly

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • They should refuse to pay the approprate levels of tax like other leading coffee outlets. Regards, Whiey & Mum.

    Report this comment

    Whiley Boy

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I wish people would stop blaming others for their failing businesses - If you haven't made a profit in 2 years the business is not viable - quite simple - too many coffee shops in Norwich and everywhere else for that matter - try for a different idea next time....

    Report this comment

    A Resident

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I think if you were to look at the customer reviews of the shop you would find the real reason for their closure, they range from being too expensive to rude and disinterested staff. I'm afraid to survive today, you really have to up your game as people will soon foot with their feet.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Of course the business rates are too high, they have been for a long time now which is why so many shops are having to close leaving Towns empty, it is time the Government did something. As for another coffee shop closing it is hardly surprising, people cannot afford to pay £1.50+ for a cup of coffee, its all a vicious circle and unless something is done about the rates I wonder where it is all going to end.

    Report this comment

    Lynda

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Possibly the wrong sort of footfall for the image of the shop-members of a young workforce looking for lunch who don't "get " the brand ? The area around the Guildhall perhaps gets a different sort of shopper more attracted to the Caley's brand image or could it be that White Lion Street is a thoroughfare used by those at the start or finish of their shopping trip? Interesting insight into the problems which beset coffee shops . I reckon a steaming hot chocolate stall on the market would do business on a cold day.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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