Long wait over as Starbucks eyes up town

Witney Gazette: Lesley Semaine, chairman of Witney Chamber of Commerce, outside Evans clothing store in the Woolgate, which is set to be taken over by Starbucks Buy this photo » Lesley Semaine, chairman of Witney Chamber of Commerce, outside Evans clothing store in the Woolgate, which is set to be taken over by Starbucks

STARBUCKS looks set to finally open in Witney after years of uncertainty over whether the coffee chain will come to the town.

The multinational has applied to move into the unit currently occupied by Evans in the Woolgate Centre in April.

It comes five years after the move was first mooted for the yet-to-open Marriots Walk, Welch Way.

Hoarding bearing the firm’s brand went up but the unit never opened at the £50m development. The unit is still empty.

A planning application has gone to West Oxfordshire District Council for the Starbucks, opposite an existing Costa coffee shop.

Agents Deloitte said Evans chose not to renew its long-term lease in June 2012 and now only needs to give three months’ notice.

It said the unit is “not an appealing size and shape for fashion or comparison goods retailers because of its limited overall tradable space”.

It said: “Shopping centres are increasingly required to become entertainment centres and destinations for more than just shopping”.

The additions of firms like Starbucks is “vital to increase vibrancy and visitor numbers to town centres.”

But Witney Chamber of Commerce Lesley Semaine chairwoman said: “We don’t need another coffee shop.

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“There’s already a Costa opposite the proposed shop. It’s better than having an empty shop but it’s a shame it couldn’t be something else.

“I would have liked to see an independent shop. At the moment we have more independent shops than in many other towns and it would be a great shame to lose that.”

Evans sales advisor Sharin McGregor said the branch had been in the unit for about 16 years.

She said: “Witney is losing its feel of a market town. I am not sure there is a great demand for another coffee shop in the area.”

She added: “We are the only special shop for ladies of a large size in the area.

“We have a loyal band of customers who come from Banbury, Oxford and even further afield.”

Yet Richard Taee, manager of independent Huffkins coffee shop in High Street, said: “We believe that the more choice of good retailers and restaurants there are in Witney, the more people will flock to the town to shop and dine. We welcome choice and variety wherever we trade.

“It's good for business and it's good for customers.”

A Starbucks spokesman said: “We are planning to open a new store in Witney in April next year with one of our franchise partners 23.5 Degrees. Every Starbucks store creates around 15 new jobs for the local area.

“As well as bringing employment opportunities to the Witney community, we are also looking forward to bringing Starbucks’ to new customers.”

Comments (21)

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11:19pm Wed 11 Dec 13

H.J.Harris says...

I don't know how we have managed without Starbucks for so long.
I don't know how we have managed without Starbucks for so long. H.J.Harris

4:14am Thu 12 Dec 13

East Oxford Web Watcher says...

It must have been hard managing without,but not to worry the wait is nearly over. May I recommend a caramel-macchiato, for your first visit.
It must have been hard managing without,but not to worry the wait is nearly over. May I recommend a caramel-macchiato, for your first visit. East Oxford Web Watcher

8:42am Thu 12 Dec 13

AngelB says...

It's rare I'd agree with Lesley Semaine but Witney does seem to have more than it's fair share of coffee chains I'd rather see an independent store open but I guess it's only the chains that can afford the rents in Witney.

Maybe if Evans are moving out their store would be a viable new Post Office rather than the ridiculous idea of cramming one into the already cramped and hard to navigate WHSmith.
It's rare I'd agree with Lesley Semaine but Witney does seem to have more than it's fair share of coffee chains I'd rather see an independent store open but I guess it's only the chains that can afford the rents in Witney. Maybe if Evans are moving out their store would be a viable new Post Office rather than the ridiculous idea of cramming one into the already cramped and hard to navigate WHSmith. AngelB

9:28am Thu 12 Dec 13

EMBOX2 says...

Great! More insipid "coffee". Of all the chains, Starbucks are the worst.
Great! More insipid "coffee". Of all the chains, Starbucks are the worst. EMBOX2

9:41am Thu 12 Dec 13

Doctor69 says...

Moan, moan, moan!
Moan, moan, moan! Doctor69

10:37am Thu 12 Dec 13

alfacoffee says...

I also want to sell a lot of coffee as Starbucks http://alfacoffee.bl
ogspot.com/
I also want to sell a lot of coffee as Starbucks http://alfacoffee.bl ogspot.com/ alfacoffee

9:22pm Thu 12 Dec 13

dave from witney says...

But Witney Chamber of Commerce Lesley Semaine chairwoman said: “We don’t need another coffee shop.

Less people taking coffee at her pub then. What she and others need to remember, is that many prefer Starbucks to the others as the coffee is stronger. I welcome them, but would have wished that they took the Marriots site, much closer to the car park and cinema.

At the moment you have to travel to Oxford or Swindon for a dose of Starbucks.
But Witney Chamber of Commerce Lesley Semaine chairwoman said: “We don’t need another coffee shop. Less people taking coffee at her pub then. What she and others need to remember, is that many prefer Starbucks to the others as the coffee is stronger. I welcome them, but would have wished that they took the Marriots site, much closer to the car park and cinema. At the moment you have to travel to Oxford or Swindon for a dose of Starbucks. dave from witney

9:30pm Thu 12 Dec 13

EnglishEms says...

I too prefer Starbucks, however as a long standing Evans Witney customer, I am not happy about the closure and loss of the only place to buy plus size clothing in Witney.

Not to mention the potential loss of jobs and amazing, one on one customer service that in my opinion is exclusive to Evans Witney and the outstanding personable staff.

One has too ask a couple of questions, at what point will there be so many coffee shops in Witney that you will need to visit a clothing shop or news agents for a rest from the coffee shops?

And is the plus size women being forced to shop elsewhere? And not support our local shops and retailers?

A support group has been started on Facebook, Save Evans Witney.
I too prefer Starbucks, however as a long standing Evans Witney customer, I am not happy about the closure and loss of the only place to buy plus size clothing in Witney. Not to mention the potential loss of jobs and amazing, one on one customer service that in my opinion is exclusive to Evans Witney and the outstanding personable staff. One has too ask a couple of questions, at what point will there be so many coffee shops in Witney that you will need to visit a clothing shop or news agents for a rest from the coffee shops? And is the plus size women being forced to shop elsewhere? And not support our local shops and retailers? A support group has been started on Facebook, Save Evans Witney. EnglishEms

9:43pm Thu 12 Dec 13

EnglishEms says...

So is Evans moving units? Has it's loyal customers been asked? No, that's the curvy women s money pushed out of Witney completely, as a customer of Evans Witney for over ten years, I have to say I'm not a happy girl... And what about the fantastic staff? What's happening to them? And where are we supposed to spend our money now? Some loyal customers are showing support on Facebook, Save Evans Witney.
So is Evans moving units? Has it's loyal customers been asked? No, that's the curvy women s money pushed out of Witney completely, as a customer of Evans Witney for over ten years, I have to say I'm not a happy girl... And what about the fantastic staff? What's happening to them? And where are we supposed to spend our money now? Some loyal customers are showing support on Facebook, Save Evans Witney. EnglishEms

12:22am Fri 13 Dec 13

AngelaY says...

Starbucks coming to Witney is NOT news, losing our Evans store is!
Starbucks coming to Witney is NOT news, losing our Evans store is! AngelaY

3:16pm Fri 13 Dec 13

witneyer says...

Back when Marriots Walk first opened I said in the Gazette that I doubted they would ever open. Their record was well documented on the net. I was proved right. For years they had all that massive advertising hoarding shouting out their message in the Walk - yet did they ever pay any rent throughout all that period? Has anybody ever bothered to ask?

Now they appear above the parapit again! Will they grab the Evans store? More to the point, if they do, will they ever open their doors?
All the gullible supported Starbucks at the time, like Fairtrade and their ilk with their ethical consciences, don't pass by, pop into Starbucks they said. Then came the announcement that giant conglomerates like these pay little or if any tax here in the UK.
That silenced them. But only for a while. Fools.

There are now plenty of coffee shops in Witney, but if you really enjoy a coffee and you are not concerned about sitting down, did you know that you can get one free...every day, if you want, in Waitrose. It's not bad either! I grant you it's not good for local coffee houses, but that's the ruthlessness of supermarket chains to get you inside.
This is not in support of Waitrose, I personally shop in 'all' supermarkets, even the Lidl/Aldi ones. But you can't ignore their marketing, anybody who so desires could have a coffee in Waitrose every day for the next year, so effectively having £657 worth free. Without the free W card you need, it will cost you £1.80 a cup. So why on earth wouldn't you?
A far lot less worse than supporting an American giant in the town, IF its doors ever open of course!
Back when Marriots Walk first opened I said in the Gazette that I doubted they would ever open. Their record was well documented on the net. I was proved right. For years they had all that massive advertising hoarding shouting out their message in the Walk - yet did they ever pay any rent throughout all that period? Has anybody ever bothered to ask? Now they appear above the parapit again! Will they grab the Evans store? More to the point, if they do, will they ever open their doors? All the gullible supported Starbucks at the time, like Fairtrade and their ilk with their ethical consciences, don't pass by, pop into Starbucks they said. Then came the announcement that giant conglomerates like these pay little or if any tax here in the UK. That silenced them. But only for a while. Fools. There are now plenty of coffee shops in Witney, but if you really enjoy a coffee and you are not concerned about sitting down, did you know that you can get one free...every day, if you want, in Waitrose. It's not bad either! I grant you it's not good for local coffee houses, but that's the ruthlessness of supermarket chains to get you inside. This is not in support of Waitrose, I personally shop in 'all' supermarkets, even the Lidl/Aldi ones. But you can't ignore their marketing, anybody who so desires could have a coffee in Waitrose every day for the next year, so effectively having £657 worth free. Without the free W card you need, it will cost you £1.80 a cup. So why on earth wouldn't you? A far lot less worse than supporting an American giant in the town, IF its doors ever open of course! witneyer

3:33pm Fri 13 Dec 13

witneyer says...

dave from witney wrote:
But Witney Chamber of Commerce Lesley Semaine chairwoman said: “We don’t need another coffee shop.

Less people taking coffee at her pub then. What she and others need to remember, is that many prefer Starbucks to the others as the coffee is stronger. I welcome them, but would have wished that they took the Marriots site, much closer to the car park and cinema.

At the moment you have to travel to Oxford or Swindon for a dose of Starbucks.
It may seem pedantic, but you cannot have 'less' people, you can only have 'fewer' people.
[quote][p][bold]dave from witney[/bold] wrote: But Witney Chamber of Commerce Lesley Semaine chairwoman said: “We don’t need another coffee shop. Less people taking coffee at her pub then. What she and others need to remember, is that many prefer Starbucks to the others as the coffee is stronger. I welcome them, but would have wished that they took the Marriots site, much closer to the car park and cinema. At the moment you have to travel to Oxford or Swindon for a dose of Starbucks.[/p][/quote]It may seem pedantic, but you cannot have 'less' people, you can only have 'fewer' people. witneyer

7:30pm Fri 13 Dec 13

dave from witney says...

witneyer wrote:
Back when Marriots Walk first opened I said in the Gazette that I doubted they would ever open. Their record was well documented on the net. I was proved right. For years they had all that massive advertising hoarding shouting out their message in the Walk - yet did they ever pay any rent throughout all that period? Has anybody ever bothered to ask?

Now they appear above the parapit again! Will they grab the Evans store? More to the point, if they do, will they ever open their doors?
All the gullible supported Starbucks at the time, like Fairtrade and their ilk with their ethical consciences, don't pass by, pop into Starbucks they said. Then came the announcement that giant conglomerates like these pay little or if any tax here in the UK.
That silenced them. But only for a while. Fools.

There are now plenty of coffee shops in Witney, but if you really enjoy a coffee and you are not concerned about sitting down, did you know that you can get one free...every day, if you want, in Waitrose. It's not bad either! I grant you it's not good for local coffee houses, but that's the ruthlessness of supermarket chains to get you inside.
This is not in support of Waitrose, I personally shop in 'all' supermarkets, even the Lidl/Aldi ones. But you can't ignore their marketing, anybody who so desires could have a coffee in Waitrose every day for the next year, so effectively having £657 worth free. Without the free W card you need, it will cost you £1.80 a cup. So why on earth wouldn't you?
A far lot less worse than supporting an American giant in the town, IF its doors ever open of course!
I think you will find that Starbucks signed a three year reduced cost lease for the Marriot's site and honoured their payments. The decision was taken shortly after signing the lease from their parent company in the States, to scale back on store openings worldwide. I assume that now, after the first three years of reduced rent, they now have found it to be unviable to open in a premier site within the town. The report states that it is a franchise that is opening in the Woolgate, not Starbucks UK. Anyway, whoever owns and run the shop, it is clear that it will be welconed my many. I can see that the larger frame ladies in the town, will lose a suitable shop. But you have to assume that for all the 'lard' waddling around Witney, the shop was not viable.
[quote][p][bold]witneyer[/bold] wrote: Back when Marriots Walk first opened I said in the Gazette that I doubted they would ever open. Their record was well documented on the net. I was proved right. For years they had all that massive advertising hoarding shouting out their message in the Walk - yet did they ever pay any rent throughout all that period? Has anybody ever bothered to ask? Now they appear above the parapit again! Will they grab the Evans store? More to the point, if they do, will they ever open their doors? All the gullible supported Starbucks at the time, like Fairtrade and their ilk with their ethical consciences, don't pass by, pop into Starbucks they said. Then came the announcement that giant conglomerates like these pay little or if any tax here in the UK. That silenced them. But only for a while. Fools. There are now plenty of coffee shops in Witney, but if you really enjoy a coffee and you are not concerned about sitting down, did you know that you can get one free...every day, if you want, in Waitrose. It's not bad either! I grant you it's not good for local coffee houses, but that's the ruthlessness of supermarket chains to get you inside. This is not in support of Waitrose, I personally shop in 'all' supermarkets, even the Lidl/Aldi ones. But you can't ignore their marketing, anybody who so desires could have a coffee in Waitrose every day for the next year, so effectively having £657 worth free. Without the free W card you need, it will cost you £1.80 a cup. So why on earth wouldn't you? A far lot less worse than supporting an American giant in the town, IF its doors ever open of course![/p][/quote]I think you will find that Starbucks signed a three year reduced cost lease for the Marriot's site and honoured their payments. The decision was taken shortly after signing the lease from their parent company in the States, to scale back on store openings worldwide. I assume that now, after the first three years of reduced rent, they now have found it to be unviable to open in a premier site within the town. The report states that it is a franchise that is opening in the Woolgate, not Starbucks UK. Anyway, whoever owns and run the shop, it is clear that it will be welconed my many. I can see that the larger frame ladies in the town, will lose a suitable shop. But you have to assume that for all the 'lard' waddling around Witney, the shop was not viable. dave from witney

10:34pm Fri 13 Dec 13

EnglishEms says...

What a lot of rude people. Shame on you... Bet your mothers are very proud.
What a lot of rude people. Shame on you... Bet your mothers are very proud. EnglishEms

10:32am Sun 15 Dec 13

Soph1982 says...

I think it's disgusting that the Evans shop will be closing.
Plus size concessions in other stores are being closed and independent plus size retailers are almost non existent.
The Evans in Witney is a popular store with a loyal team of sales assistants and customers.
Arcadia should be ashamed of the way they are handling this situation.
I think it's disgusting that the Evans shop will be closing. Plus size concessions in other stores are being closed and independent plus size retailers are almost non existent. The Evans in Witney is a popular store with a loyal team of sales assistants and customers. Arcadia should be ashamed of the way they are handling this situation. Soph1982

12:42pm Mon 16 Dec 13

splashgreen says...

Does the "centre" management have any say in what retail mix goes into the Woolgate? Perhaps it is a case of letting the unit for the "client" and not forfeiting months of rental and lost income which is understandable but not particularly desirable! It is a shame that it is going to be another coffee house but presumably Evans had their reasons (financial) for closing this space. Let's see, who else sells coffee in this area....... plenty! Blue Boar, Company of Weavers (Lavazza), The Fleece, to name a few.

I agree with the views of others that putting the Post Office in WHSmith is not the best solution. Keeping it open is best! WHSmith is cramped, busy and they will have to reduce their floor space to include a unit which will adequately fulfill the duties required by the Witney population. Or are we going to lose those as well, eg driving licence and passport renewals.

Woolgate Centre Management - take note of some of the comments please!
Does the "centre" management have any say in what retail mix goes into the Woolgate? Perhaps it is a case of letting the unit for the "client" and not forfeiting months of rental and lost income which is understandable but not particularly desirable! It is a shame that it is going to be another coffee house but presumably Evans had their reasons (financial) for closing this space. Let's see, who else sells coffee in this area....... plenty! Blue Boar, Company of Weavers (Lavazza), The Fleece, to name a few. I agree with the views of others that putting the Post Office in WHSmith is not the best solution. Keeping it open is best! WHSmith is cramped, busy and they will have to reduce their floor space to include a unit which will adequately fulfill the duties required by the Witney population. Or are we going to lose those as well, eg driving licence and passport renewals. Woolgate Centre Management - take note of some of the comments please! splashgreen

1:08pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Doctor69 says...

End of the day, Evans cant be doing that well in Witney or they wouldn't be closing the store would they?
End of the day, Evans cant be doing that well in Witney or they wouldn't be closing the store would they? Doctor69

3:44pm Mon 16 Dec 13

Soph1982 says...

Doctor69 wrote:
End of the day, Evans cant be doing that well in Witney or they wouldn't be closing the store would they?
I don't think that's the case.
A lot of businesses they are performing well are being closed down due to increases in rent and business rates.
[quote][p][bold]Doctor69[/bold] wrote: End of the day, Evans cant be doing that well in Witney or they wouldn't be closing the store would they?[/p][/quote]I don't think that's the case. A lot of businesses they are performing well are being closed down due to increases in rent and business rates. Soph1982

12:40pm Tue 17 Dec 13

cuckoo says...

“We have a loyal band of customers who come from Banbury, Oxford and even further afield.”

?????????????? .................I think there are Evans Stores in both Oxford and Banbury!
“We have a loyal band of customers who come from Banbury, Oxford and even further afield.” ?????????????? .................I think there are Evans Stores in both Oxford and Banbury! cuckoo

12:42pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Doctor69 says...

Soph1982 wrote:
Doctor69 wrote:
End of the day, Evans cant be doing that well in Witney or they wouldn't be closing the store would they?
I don't think that's the case.
A lot of businesses they are performing well are being closed down due to increases in rent and business rates.
Well if the rents rise, and profits are good then the business would stay open. Some profit is better than none isn't it?
[quote][p][bold]Soph1982[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Doctor69[/bold] wrote: End of the day, Evans cant be doing that well in Witney or they wouldn't be closing the store would they?[/p][/quote]I don't think that's the case. A lot of businesses they are performing well are being closed down due to increases in rent and business rates.[/p][/quote]Well if the rents rise, and profits are good then the business would stay open. Some profit is better than none isn't it? Doctor69

3:57pm Tue 17 Dec 13

Soph1982 says...

cuckoo wrote:
“We have a loyal band of customers who come from Banbury, Oxford and even further afield.”

?????????????? .................I think there are Evans Stores in both Oxford and Banbury!
actually the Banbury and Oxford stores have been closed for years, there is a concession in BHS oxford but as anyone who shops there will tell you they don't have anywhere close to the range of clothing or level of customer service available in Witney,
[quote][p][bold]cuckoo[/bold] wrote: “We have a loyal band of customers who come from Banbury, Oxford and even further afield.” ?????????????? .................I think there are Evans Stores in both Oxford and Banbury![/p][/quote]actually the Banbury and Oxford stores have been closed for years, there is a concession in BHS oxford but as anyone who shops there will tell you they don't have anywhere close to the range of clothing or level of customer service available in Witney, Soph1982

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