September 18 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, August 16, 2014
A new Costa coffee shop in Thetford was welcomed by dignitaries and customers, who believed it would attract more visitors and help revitalise the town centre.
Thetford mayor Sylvia Armes and Commonwealth Games shooter Mick Gault, from Dereham, were on hand for the opening of the new Costa branch in King Street on Saturday.
The new store has created nine jobs, which have been taken by people living in the Thetford area and is being operated on behalf of Costa by local franchisee Antony Tagliamonti.
Mrs Armes said: “I think this is good for the town. It is also enterprising for the visitors that come as they are familiar with Costa and I am sure they will appreciate having a Costa Coffee in Thetford.”
She understood concerns the high street chain’s opening might affect the trade of smaller cafes, but said competition was important, adding: “Obviously they have done their homework and they think it is worth having a Costa coffee here and it is far better to have something here rather than an empty shop and there are so many empty shops in our towns.”
Mr Gault, who gained a bronze in the 10m air pistol event at the recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games, said his daughter Clare, who was present on Saturday, was manager of Costa’s Swaffham branch.
He added: “Thetford has desperately needed something like this. We have been to Thetford three or four times and this is right in the heart of the town centre and I think it will be a big boost to the economy.”
The 60-year-old, who retired from shooting after Glasgow, said Costa offered a slightly different service to smaller cafes, with more snacks and meals, but said other cafes could still be able to compete by diversifying their range.
Ana Figueiredo, the manager of the Thetford branch, said any negative impact on local cafes would be mitigated by the fact the Costa staff were all local and would spend their money in the town.
Mrs Figueiredo, who lives in Thetford, said: “It will improve our community and bring a brand name to the town and I think the opening of the A11 bypass is bringing more visitors to the town and lots of stores are opening, such as Lidl.
“There is also a project for 5,000 homes which will bring more people to live here and if we have a strong business centre there will be less need for people to visit other towns such as Bury or Norwich.”
Licensing for the store was agreed in May by Breckland Council, despite objections from Thetford Town Council.
The town council was concerned about the loss of “pure retail space” after the store was changed from a £1 discount retail store.
What benefits will the new Costa bring to Thetford? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.