A city centre café set up to champion local businesses will serve its last coffee tomorrow afternoon as its owner said the rise in rates has forced him to close.

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Union Yard tea and coffee bar on the corner of Surrey Street and St Stephens Street in Norwich was opened in January this year by Cringleford couple Steven and Hannah Winter, both 31, after they spotted a gap in the market for an independent café serving local produce.

But now Mr Winter, who is a bakery consultant, says he can no longer afford to pay the rising business rates, set by central government, and the rent which he says would total almost £50,000 per year.

The former city college student said the loss of the 50 sqms shop, managed by Joe Trewellard, is “very sad”.

With four staff employed, My Winter says bride-to-be Sarah Gowing, 29, and Max Sturman, 23, would be out of work come tomorrow.

He said: “We wanted a few of these [coffee shops], and could have employed five or six people in each shop, and now we have to lose jobs.”

Mr Winter says the combination of rising business rates – taxes which are charged on non-domestic properties like shops, offices and pubs – and a rental lease which would tie him in for another three years, is not something he is “setting myself up for”.

He said he “could not believe” business rates are continuing to rise in the recession. Last week it was announced that they are set to increase by a further 2.6pc.

But he emphasised “we are not a failing business”, with a new wholesale bakery, Bread Source, set to open in Horsham St Faith soon.

And he added: “I want to come back to the city, and we will come back.”

Don’t forget to buy the Evening News this week when we look at how other small Norwich businesses are coping in the economic climate.

31 comments

  • Wheres our politcians when we need them even to speak out Oh sorry they are saving the country in London

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    No to tory boy

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Its the same ofr us publicans - The FACT is the city council do not want local businesses - they want the mult-national companies. The Council do not represent us, they treat us like idiots. One option the cafe has which a pub doesnt is call yourself a "ethnic Coffee Cafe" - you'll pay NO rates for the first 12 months, with a 70& discount on years 2 and 3 ! Call yourself an English Local Business and you'll pay top dollar. I took this complaint to city hall - I was given two choices, 1 Leave the building or 2. Get arrested

    Report this comment

    pubmandave

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • "Gap in the market"? For a coffee shop? In Norwich?

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    galrita

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • This is an absolutely typical example of government stupidity and grasping landlords. The Coalition is making a mess of everything but their apparent objective of wrecking the country from end to end.

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    T Doff

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Only been there 5 minutes, never gonna work

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    billythebookie

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • You have been reading a strange paper then Whiley, you are a long way from the truth which is not uncommon.

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    Horatio

    Friday, October 26, 2012

  • Perhaps they could turn it into a hairdressers.

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    Disgusted of Norwich South

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • ....And the EDP's little darling Chloe Smiths comment is ???.

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    "V"

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Whist it is sad this cafe is closing, I have to agree with the other comments on this site, There are alot of cafescoffe shops in this area.I believe, if memory serves me correctly. the previous on closed to.

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    lucy

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Why are you all on about the council rates?? I bet that 90% of the £50,000 is the rent, charged by a private landlord. And it is prime city centre retail property, not secondary where it is sensible to have a coffee shop. As for Starbucks, of course they should pay tax on their profits, but to say they pay no tax is not true - they have to pay rates, rent, employers NI and VAT like anyone else.

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    Ian S

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • I use this little coffee shop all the time rather than supporting the corporate majority. The staff were so lovely and the cheese and sweet chilli scones were to die for. Such a shame that a young couple supporting local businesses have been forced out because of government greed. My sympathies to them both and their staff, wishing you all the best for their future. So sorry. X

    Report this comment

    Lesa

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • I think that you'll find that Aviva sold off their city centre buildings circa 2006. Anyone who has read a local newspaper in the last 6 years would know that. Regards, Whiley.

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    Whiley Boy

    Friday, October 26, 2012

  • I didn't know coffee was produced locally, always thought it came from Brazil.

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    expat

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • | remember my comment was not posted when the EN reported that an "artisan" coffee thingy was opening. Never mind what I said but it wasn't complimentary. I looked at my little book of b******s and saw that there were 15,000 coffee shops in Greater Norwich almost as many as hyper-active road-ragers. I wonder if there is a link? Nevermind, I like a nice cuppa.

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    oldowl

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • another shop going to left empty in the city

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    norwichwardy

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • With profits so marginal in the cafe and restaurant trade was it really wise to employ four people including a shop manager in the first place. Wouldn't they of been better off running it themselves until they had an idea of the type and frequency of trade in that area. And what the hell is a "bakery consultant" anyway?

    Report this comment

    frank young

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • Why do poor businessmen always blame their mistakes on others - if the business was going to be viable it would have made a profit - it has't made the grade and deserves to close - I feel sorry for the staff for losing their jobs - but stop blaming others for your incompetence.

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    A Resident

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

  • Whist it is sad this cafe is closing, I have to agree with the other comments on this site, There are alot of cafescoffe shops in this area.I believe, if memory serves me correctly. the previous on closed to.

    Report this comment

    lucy

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • "and the rent which he says would total almost £50,000 per year." £50,000 .....?! thats just disgracefull, it's extortion, these small businness don't stand a chance

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • "Why didnt AVIVA help out?" Err, I think you'll find they ARE the landlord....

    Report this comment

    Babelfish

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

  • Meanwhile Starbucks don't pay tax! What a joke this country has become. What happened to small business rate relief? This is a very sad loss of another local business and a gain for the chains (multi-nationals rule)

    Report this comment

    p.buckell@btinternet.com

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Another small business killed off by our money grabbing council. Things wont change until we start voting for anyone other than the top 3 parties.

    Report this comment

    Crazy

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • The headline to this piece is complete nonsense actually - the rates are "set to increase by a further 2.6pc" i.e. not very much. The stated reason later in the article for the cafe closing is because the owner doesn't want to tie himself in to a 3-year lease, i.e. NOTHING to do with rates!

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    Ian S

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Why would Aviva help them out? Last time I went into one of the Surrey Street buildings, they had a coffee outlet in the reception area.

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    Yellow Blood

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • By being greedy,governments and councils lose all their revenue! witness the number of empty shops around the city,government now takes at least a third of all profits! That coffee shop used to be the old Boars Head,a great music venue finished off by 'elf and safety and high rates! I think the council and the government between them are destroying the heart of Norwich,and me and my colleagues in the music business regard it as a no go area thanks to parking restrictions and interference from the council.

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    Harry Rabinowitz

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • More Boarded windows and all because of high government rates. Good luck with Bread Source, set to open in Horsham St Faith soon.

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    Christopher Neave

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Whist it is sad this cafe is closing, I have to agree with the other comments on this site, There are alot of cafescoffe shops in this area.I believe, if memory serves me correctly. the previous on closed to.

    Report this comment

    lucy

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • I don't really like coffee - so it's no loss to me - I expect the price of their cakes put people off - reduce your staff and your prices - increase your profit and stay in business and stop moaning

    Report this comment

    A Resident

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

  • Blinkin Greens

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Well done to the government. Another empty shop for Norwich. It's a pity that the neighbours (Aviva) couldn't have helped them out. Regards, Whiley.

    Report this comment

    Whiley Boy

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • What's My Winter?

    Report this comment

    Frank Fryup

    Monday, October 22, 2012

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

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