'We are not scared': Market traders square up to coffee giant

Ella Jakaj, 36, who runs Ruby's stall on Norwich Market

Ella Jakaj, 36, who runs Ruby's stall on Norwich Market - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

"Norwich knows what it is like when it comes to coffee."

That is the rallying message from an independent cafe boss as work begins transforming a former clothes shop into yet another chain coffee shop.

Costa Coffee is opening in the large corner plot opposite Norwich Market which used to be home to Jack Wills.

The former Jack Wills store on London Street, Norwich, which will become a Costa Coffee

The former Jack Wills store on London Street, Norwich, which will become a Costa Coffee - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

It comes after the Costa store further down London Street closed.

But the indies in and around the market are not scared by the competition.

Jonathan Lummis, owner of Brownies and Coffee on Guildhall Hill in Norwich

Jonathan Lummis, owner of Brownies and Coffee on Guildhall Hill in Norwich - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Jonathan Lummis, 26, who opened Brownies and Coffee in Guildhall Hill around a year ago, said: "No-one makes brownies as good as me. The kind of people who come to shop like ours won't go to a shop like Costa. That is what I hope.

"The support for independents in Norwich is very good. It is a welcoming and nice city. People know what they like nowadays, particularly with coffee. They won't settle for anything else."

He added that the student customer base was strong.

Darren Groom, owner of the Little Red Roaster stall on Norwich Market

Darren Groom, owner of the Little Red Roaster stall on Norwich Market - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Most Read

On the market, Darren Groom, 46, who set up the Little Red Roaster stall 20 years ago, praised the "feisty" support of independent businesses in the city.

He said: "There is space for everyone."

The coffee expert believed people were spending more on individual items, like coffee, from independent stores post lockdown lifting. 

Ella Jakaj, 36, who set up Ruby's Tea Stall on the market five years ago, said: "I don't think the new Costa will affect me because our prices are cheaper than theirs. Our customers are very loyal. Norwich is a lovely place and if you make customers feel welcome they will come back.

"I have met some amazing people on the stall. They are like family."  

Debs Champion, who runs a stall on Norwich Market

Debs Champion, who runs a stall on Norwich Market - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

But Debs Champion, 59, who has run Debs tea stall on the market for 17 years,  said: "I'm not impressed with the Costa opening up.

"There are enough coffee shops in the city especially in Gentleman's Walk. I'm worried about the impact of it being throwing distance of the market.

"It is a hard world at the moment to make a living. With Covid it has been a struggle."

Costa was approached for comment on its opening date but did not respond.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter