Starbucks to close after six years in Wells High Street
Starbucks employees have been left with a bitter taste in their mouths after learning that the Wells branch of the coffee chain will close.
The international coffee giant has been in Wells since 2006 when it moved into the former Wine Rack store but the froth appears to have fallen off their cappuccino.
Starbucks would neither confirm or deny their reasons for leaving Wells but it comes in the wake of reports of rising business rents in the city and a record number of coffee outlets.
Many city centre traders cite the arrival of Starbucks in a prime location as being the start of a cycle of spiralling High Street rents as more national chains targeted Wells.
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In July it emerged that Wells had seen an increase of 45.5 per cent in business rents over the last five years.
The report, by retail analysts Colliers, suggests that the increase has been due to chain stores wanting to move in to Wells and having to compete for the few vacant shops.
One Wells-based chartered surveyor has offered a possible explanation for Starbucks leaving Wells.
Paul Knight, of PJK, said: “It’s fair to say that Starbucks are rationalising their portfolio nationally and looking at those who make least profit.”
As an international chain store Starbucks arrived amid concerns that Wells was losing its reputation for small, independent retailers.
However, having been here for over six years they will now leave a sizeable hole in the High Street.
In a time when the economy is struggling and many high streets across the country have large numbers of empty shop fronts this could be a concern.
Mr Knight believes that Wells will buck the national trend.
He said: “It’s a prime location and there won’t be a shortage of demand.”
While the shop remains empty the other coffee shops in Wells could see a boost in trade.
Ivan Hewitt of Strangers with Coffee, on St Cuthbert Street, said: “I think it’s a very good thing.
“It’s nice to see people using independent shops rather than a chain.
“With small independents you get more of a personal service rather than here’s your coffee, here’s your change. We give that personal touch.”
How do you feel about Starbucks leaving Wells?
Will you be glad to see a chain coffee shop leave the city or will you be sad to see an internationally famous brand depart the city?
What would you like to see take its place?
Send your views to editor@midsom news.co.uk or write to Editor, Wells Journal, Southover, Wells, BA5 1UH.