‘We were too close to Wetherspoon’s’ – Bar closes down after less than two years

PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:01 11 February 2019

RopeWorks, in Battery Green Road, Lowestoft, has shut down. Photo: James Carr.

RopeWorks, in Battery Green Road, Lowestoft, has shut down. Photo: James Carr.


Parking woes, competition from national chains and poor management are the main factors behind a bar closure - according to its owner.

The Joseph Conrad, in Station Square, Lowestoft.  Picture: ContributedThe Joseph Conrad, in Station Square, Lowestoft. Picture: Contributed

At the end of January, RopeWorks, in Battery Green Road, Lowestoft, closed its doors for the final time.

Its dreams of making a name as the country’s most easterly gin palace were quickly cut short and the business has struggled since opening in April 2017.

Owner Mandy Harper said: “There were about a hundred problems – the biggest one was the parking.

“We were in the wrong place; there was just no available parking for customers.”

The three-storey bar’s location also proved a contributing factor for another issue - around 300m down the road is Wetherspoon’s The Joseph Conrad.

Mrs Harper added: “We were to close to Wetherspoon’s and couldn’t compete with their prices.

“With us just being round the corner it was too close for comfort.

“For the price we were selling a single, they were selling a double. We just didn’t have a hope in hell of competing.

The 56-year-old pointed out the bar’s prices were less expensive than the independent pubs in Pakefield – where her family also run the popular tea rooms Tea By The Sea.

However RopeWorks’ prices still paled in comparison to the nearby national chain.

In less than two years Mrs Harper said the business had lost more than £100,000 but it had also provided a learning curve for the family.

She said: “We were too expensive to start with, then we a got a reputation of being really expensive.

“We have never had enough money to cover our VAT – that is a big killer for smaller businesses.

“A lot of it was our fault – it needed a better management and it was too much for me.”

Mrs Harper added: “We met some lovely people who were really loyal to us. People who came in loved the place.

“Thank you for the support – it just wasn’t enough to pay for the up keep of a place so big.

“I think with the right management, and people going in there with experience, it could do well.”

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