I have blogged before about the death of the High Street. I blamed myself completely due to my prolific online shopping. However it transpires that I am not the reason for this, but actually it is something else.
In Fleet, the town I live in, there is a small shopping centre called the Hart Centre. It has your usual High Street staples in it, alongside a typical High Street. Sadly, however there are currently 12 empty units in that shopping centre. Twelve. And I think we must be the only town in Britain where Poundland closed down.
Despite all that there is a local business that is bucking that trend. A small coffee shop called More Than Coffee is run by a husband and wife team, Sarah and John. They have been in business for over 13 years, first on the High Street and now in the Hart Centre. Opposite Starbucks and yet they are no competition.
They are fierce supporters of all things local and the shop is always full of people enjoying a hot drink or food. There is rarely a free table. Regulars are greeted by name and vice versa, customers are ALWAYS greeted with a smile.
Why am I telling you this?
Because their landlord wants to shut them down. All in the name of greed. They want to put them out of business simply in the name of more rent.
They have sought, and pretty much secured, another tenant to take over the unit at the end of this month. Simply because they can. Because they want to put the rent up and force More Than Coffee out.
They have put the rent up, John and Sarah HAVE offered more, but the landlords want more than that.
Meaning that John and Sarah will lose their sole source of income. The income that supports their two small children.
And will put several part time waitresses (one of whom is my daughter C) out of a job.
This is disgusting. I am sorry but it is utterly despicable.
There are twelve other units in that Centre, along with several on the High Street, and they don’t care. They just don’t care.
They have asked John and Sarah to “send us an email stating why you should stay”. I am sorry but that is just a pile of crap. Stating why they should stay?! Isn’t it obvious? Because they are thriving business and will be closed down by you for no other reason than lining your pockets.
I am outraged at this. We read all these stories about High Streets struggling and being like ghost towns, shops going out of business and closing down and this is why. It isn’t because of people like me that sit on their arses shopping on the internet. It is because greedy landlords are forcing them out of business.
Bullies. That is what they are. Bullies.
There is a Facebook Group that Sarah and John have started. Please Save More Than Coffee. Please leave a comment over there.
Or please leave a comment here. We want as much press coverage of this as we can get. We will not allow these landlords to do this. We will show them all this support and if that means front page of a National Newspaper, so be it.
Please RT this link if you are on Twitter. Or please send to any journalists you know.