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Grounds for concern after sudden closure of coffee shop

Alex and Pam Snook, owners of Marco's cafe on Ecclesall Road are concerned about the number of coffee shops being allowed to open on the road following the closure of neighbouring Manhattan Coffee Shop

Alex and Pam Snook, owners of Marco's cafe on Ecclesall Road are concerned about the number of coffee shops being allowed to open on the road following the closure of neighbouring Manhattan Coffee Shop

Fears were expressed this week for the character of Ecclesall Road after an independently run coffee shop closed suddenly.

The loss of Manhattan Coffee House was seen as another locally-run operation falling victim to high rates, rents and competition from the big coffee chains.

Manhattan had tried to boost trade with an alcohol licence until 9pm and hosting a craft fair.

But the premises have now been cleared, with a sign left in the window blaming “excessive” business rates and rents.

“It’s a shame, it’s another independent place that’s gone,” said Pam Snook, who opened Cafe Marco in the same block, near the Berkeley Centre, with daughter Alex five years ago.

Marco’s has seen business rise by around 15% since Manhattan closed, but Pam is aware of nearby competition from the likes of Costa Coffee, Starbuck’s and Caffe Nero.

Independent businesses are being pushed out of a road that was once known as ‘the Bond Street of Sheffield’, renowned for its fashion and distinctive retailers, said Pam.

In recent years, food and drink operators such as Pizza Express and Nando’s have also moved in, although Fancie is now flying the flag for independents.

“We are doing alright,” said Pam. “We have got a good reputation and people like what we do. I’m also very fortunate that my husband has got his own business. This is not our sole source of income.”

Marco’s uses locally-sourced food, which is another advantage of local businesses.

Yet they are finding it increasingly difficult, with higher car parking charges about to add to the burden of rents and rates, added Pam.

 

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