Since 2010, North Devon has experienced an almost doubled significant increase in coffee shops. Many shop owners believe it to be due to a higher demand for greater choice on the high street.
Official figures reveal that the number of cafes and coffee shops in North Devon has grown from 40 in 2010, up to 75. Shops in Torridge also increased from 10 to 25 at the same time.
Sam Rhodes, the co-owner of Queen Anne’s on The Strand, comments that customers want more places to be able to visit during the day, either for meals or to meet friends.
In addition to varied choices for consumers, several owners were motivated by the believed potential lifestyle change that owning a coffee shop would bring them.
Peter Szabo, the owner of Driftwood coffee shop, Gammon Walk, commented that he and his wife, Katie, were “fed up of working office jobs and wanted a different lifestyle.”
Local coffee shop owners do not view the increase in competition from large chains as a problem, with Peter calling them “a disruption, but not a threat.”
The manager at Latteria Cafe on Bear Street, Sandra Baddick, agreed also, adding, “A lot of our business is from regular customers, they like to come in and have a chat.” She has run her cafe for over six years, and from experience, she believes that her customers are drawn to the familiarity that her shop provides.
All three coffee shop owners are confident about the future of the trading environment, highlighting the security in the quality of independent business, in addition to the friendly relationship they maintain with their customers as a key to their success.