Park cafe owner: Controversial Costa is the only way

Bucks Free Press: Park cafe owner: Controversial Costa is the only way Park cafe owner: Controversial Costa is the only way

THE OWNER of a park cafe insists controversial plans to turn it into a Costa franchise is the only way to make the business work due to high rent costs and building issues.

Carly Trisk-Grove, who took on a 10-year lease on the Wycombe District Council-built building in Marlow's Higginson Park in 2008, claims the cost of rent and issues with the building mean only a large chain can make the cafe profitable.

Coffee Snobs, a Costa franchise, submitted a planning application in December, but has not yet committed to take on the remainder of the lease.

The cafe, which was built as a shelter with gaps in the roof and windows, is set to be modified to make it a sealed, heated building under the plans.

The proposal sparked controversy last month when residents complained the picturesque views of the park would be ruined by the advertising and large air conditioning units facing Pound Lane.

Ms Grove said she underestimated how hard running the independent business from the shelter would be, and that only a company with financial muscle could turn a decent profit.

She said: “When I signed the lease, I didn’t realise the mistake I was making in taking on. Realistically, the building is not fit for purpose, and the only people who can make it a success is a big company like Costa who have greater buying power and economies of scale.

“Something has to happen. It is all very well people objecting but over the last three years, we have worked really hard and not made the level of profit that has been worth the massive effort.

“I don’t think any other independent company would be able run it either. The building is basically a shelter and we’re spending money constantly pumping heat into it just to keep warm.

“We were naive, and did not appreciate that the building couldn’t really be properly heated in winter.”

The plans, which are due to be decided by WDC this month, include building work to fill in the gaps around the top of the shelter, replacement of doors and windows and air conditioning.

WDC says advertising relating to the operator is permitted, but that any changes would have to be approved through the planning process.

It also confirmed any alterations would be paid for the leaseholder and not the taxpayer.

Comments (9)

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11:17am Wed 19 Feb 14

BOOKERite says...

What a shame, it was good to have an independent café and the range of food was great with some healthy food choices unlike Costa. I really love their coffee but not their unhealthy food offerings.

I'm afraid that that Costa, like Tesco and the other large supermarkets are killing all decent competition.
What a shame, it was good to have an independent café and the range of food was great with some healthy food choices unlike Costa. I really love their coffee but not their unhealthy food offerings. I'm afraid that that Costa, like Tesco and the other large supermarkets are killing all decent competition. BOOKERite
  • Score: 11

1:34pm Wed 19 Feb 14

Little Miss says...

It really is a shame, I've always enjoyed the variety of things on offer when I've visited the park. There's already 1 Costa in Marlow. It's a shame that more hasn't been done to try and help independent businesses.
It really is a shame, I've always enjoyed the variety of things on offer when I've visited the park. There's already 1 Costa in Marlow. It's a shame that more hasn't been done to try and help independent businesses. Little Miss
  • Score: 10

2:20pm Wed 19 Feb 14

s6blr says...

If the council had any (Brains, Balls, Courage, Etc.) they would let her out of the contract, and just open the space so taxpayers can sit under cover when it rains.

We DO NOT NEED another chain coffee house, especially in the park!
If the council had any (Brains, Balls, Courage, Etc.) they would let her out of the contract, and just open the space so taxpayers can sit under cover when it rains. We DO NOT NEED another chain coffee house, especially in the park! s6blr
  • Score: 2

10:19pm Wed 19 Feb 14

gpn01 says...

s6blr wrote:
If the council had any (Brains, Balls, Courage, Etc.) they would let her out of the contract, and just open the space so taxpayers can sit under cover when it rains.

We DO NOT NEED another chain coffee house, especially in the park!
If ypu don't want to use a franchise/chain coffee shop then you're under no obligation too. Kudos to anyone who gives it their best shot to run as an independent shop but it takes an awful lot of time and money to make it a success. Marlow has had its fair share of independent tea rooms and coffee shops, many of which have tried and failed.

Maybe WDC will now question why it chose to build such an open style. Was it the same people who were behind Eden's design?
[quote][p][bold]s6blr[/bold] wrote: If the council had any (Brains, Balls, Courage, Etc.) they would let her out of the contract, and just open the space so taxpayers can sit under cover when it rains. We DO NOT NEED another chain coffee house, especially in the park![/p][/quote]If ypu don't want to use a franchise/chain coffee shop then you're under no obligation too. Kudos to anyone who gives it their best shot to run as an independent shop but it takes an awful lot of time and money to make it a success. Marlow has had its fair share of independent tea rooms and coffee shops, many of which have tried and failed. Maybe WDC will now question why it chose to build such an open style. Was it the same people who were behind Eden's design? gpn01
  • Score: 5

12:02am Thu 20 Feb 14

stevet123 says...

why have a Costa's there, all they are over priced crap, gone a be proper sandwiches etc
why have a Costa's there, all they are over priced crap, gone a be proper sandwiches etc stevet123
  • Score: -2

12:04am Thu 20 Feb 14

stevet123 says...

BOOKERite wrote:
What a shame, it was good to have an independent café and the range of food was great with some healthy food choices unlike Costa. I really love their coffee but not their unhealthy food offerings.

I'm afraid that that Costa, like Tesco and the other large supermarkets are killing all decent competition.
perhaps she can find a loop hole in her agreement, ie: wycombe district council not doing enough to encourage people to visit the area one point
[quote][p][bold]BOOKERite[/bold] wrote: What a shame, it was good to have an independent café and the range of food was great with some healthy food choices unlike Costa. I really love their coffee but not their unhealthy food offerings. I'm afraid that that Costa, like Tesco and the other large supermarkets are killing all decent competition.[/p][/quote]perhaps she can find a loop hole in her agreement, ie: wycombe district council not doing enough to encourage people to visit the area one point stevet123
  • Score: -1

12:12am Thu 20 Feb 14

big don g the 1st says...

Are Costa interested in the little refreshment hut thing down the Rye?

Who will be the franchisee? The same woman who is there now or is she getting out of commerce as she fails to research ventures thoroughly?
Are Costa interested in the little refreshment hut thing down the Rye? Who will be the franchisee? The same woman who is there now or is she getting out of commerce as she fails to research ventures thoroughly? big don g the 1st
  • Score: 3

8:24am Thu 20 Feb 14

norma stitz says...

You have to say that the current lease holder was at best naïve when bidding for the lease, a bid which saw the previous owners of the park refreshment hut outbid in the process.
I suspect that a nice fat cheque from Costa Coffee has persuaded the owners that the business is no longer viable.
The place always seems busy when I'm in the park ( apart from the present flooding issues)
You have to say that the current lease holder was at best naïve when bidding for the lease, a bid which saw the previous owners of the park refreshment hut outbid in the process. I suspect that a nice fat cheque from Costa Coffee has persuaded the owners that the business is no longer viable. The place always seems busy when I'm in the park ( apart from the present flooding issues) norma stitz
  • Score: 4

10:29am Tue 25 Feb 14

cafeintheparkcarly says...

Many thanks for the lovely comments about the service we offer. It has been a fun six years with many highs and lows. If anybody has any questions about our decisions and how we have run the business, please do get in touch. We continue to run our café in Rickmansworth and our website is.. the cafe in the park dot com.

We have loved running the café in Marlow but naively realised a little too late that the building was not fit for purpose. We did make it work and there are many reasons for us leaving now, unfortunately a 'nice fat cheque' is not the reason.
Many thanks for the lovely comments about the service we offer. It has been a fun six years with many highs and lows. If anybody has any questions about our decisions and how we have run the business, please do get in touch. We continue to run our café in Rickmansworth and our website is.. the cafe in the park dot com. We have loved running the café in Marlow but naively realised a little too late that the building was not fit for purpose. We did make it work and there are many reasons for us leaving now, unfortunately a 'nice fat cheque' is not the reason. cafeintheparkcarly
  • Score: 2

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