This afternoon Tony and I received a tweet from a friend of mine and #MicroBizMatters 2018 guest Kate Hardcastle highlighting that poor Roy Cropper’s independent Cafe, ‘Roy’s Rolls’, that nestles at the end of Coronation Street, is under threat from Costa. It would appear that Roy is not the only one who is going to be suffering some serious competition from product placement either. How will Dev, Rita and Norris shape up against the competition a Co-Op convenience store is going to bring their businesses ?
Before all you keyboard warriors start firing social media comments at me highlighting the fact Coronation Street is not real life I would like to let you know I am very aware of that. My Dad’s oldest and dearest friend plays Norris and, though my children, now nearly 26 and 19, did question many years ago why he was drinking wine in our dining room at 7.30pm one Friday night when he should have been on the telly, we do know that this great British TV series is fiction.
Real life not fiction
But the turmoil caused by big business brands arriving in small communities and upsetting the metaphorical apple cart is very real. It is happening day in and day out across the UK and different parts of the world. Many independent businesses struggling to keep going as they provide the daily bread, milk, reading material and iced fingers to those that live or work around them are edged out by faceless high street brands leaving us with lots of cities and towns looking the same as their neighbour. People like Roy who are coming to the end of their bap buttering career do not have the strength to fight the corporate companies with their big business budgets for development, marketing, sales training etc. Instead they just give up, lock up and walk away leaving another empty business premises on what was once a bustling high street.
A couple of years ago Sainsburys wanted to open a ‘Local’ store at the end of our road less than 0.5km from a large independent Supermarket owned by the Proudfoot Group. This is the supermarket that boosts my shopping with independent businesses to around 90%. The council had granted a 24 hour licence to our local garage, a Londis convenience store, just prior to the Sainsburys application being submitted. We also have a fabulous newspaper shop selling allsorts of things you need, and some that I am not really sure you do, less than 1km in the opposite direction. I have nothing against competition in business or Sainsburys, I buy items at their large Scarborough town centre store if Proudies don’t have them. What I do have a problem with is big business muscling in and edging the little guys and gals out.
The Power Of Plenty
As a result of the Sainsburys application I started a petition and also highlighted some of the issues the change of use would bring to our local community including traffic safety problems. Let’s be fair this is no doubt going to be a problem on Coronation Street, they do not have a very good track record of road safety without an increase in cars to Costa and the Co-op. It was the Power of Plenty, a community coming together to write letters, object and show support for the existing local businesses that have served them well for many a year that stopped the Sainsburys application. The site now houses an Undertakers, maybe this would be a better business venture on Coronation Street in light of the number of people Pat Phelan alone has killed off lately.
Become an #Indie25ER
Though a campaign to #SaveRoysRolls may not be at the forefront of the @itvcorrie writer’s minds it would be great if we could encourage them to back our #MicroBizMatters Movement campaign to become an #Indie25ER ! Spending 25% of your shopping budget with independent businesses can make such a huge difference to your community and the money that circulates around it. Though it may not stop the corporate competition it gives the independent businesses a better fighting chance