Fringe Box



New Coffee Shops Brewing But A Betting Shop Lost

Published on: 21 Aug, 2019
Updated on: 21 Aug, 2019

By Hugh Coakley

Two new coffee shops were being fitted out this week for opening in Guildford High Street and in White Lion Walk with the launch dates yet to be announced.

In contrast at the other end of the High Street, a William Hill betting shop has closed bringing the number of empty shops in the upper High Street to 11.

Shop fitters are working on the new speciality Sri Lankan coffee shop in the High Street.

Located on the High Street in one of the busiest parts of the town, a new speciality Sri Lankan coffee shop is being set up in the American Express shop, empty now for over 18 months.

The Guildford Dragon NEWS spoke to Aruna Kodithuwakku, the owner, about his new venture. Aruna talked enthusiastically about his coffee plantation in the Kothmale Hills in Sri Lanka and his London House of Coffee shop in Colombo.

He said that he was excited about opening a shop in Guildford which he intended to be along the same lines as his Sri Lankan shop. But even though he has shop fitters working in the premises, he would not be drawn on an opening date.

The other coffee shop contender is in White Lion Walk, taking the place of the Millie’s Cookies shop. “A new Persian café will be opening here soon,” said Sam Orledge, the White Lion Walk operations manager. He was delighted that the shopping centre was “fully occupied” now that the empty shop was taken by the new café.

Coffee shops and cafés seem to be a crowded market with more than 120 cafes and restaurants listed by Experience Guildford in the town centre alone. But they always seem to be busy so why not another couple in the busiest areas?

Four shops in a row now empty in the upper High Street. Giraffe, Chilli Pickle and William Hill closed this year with Maplins going into administration in 2018.

Less positive is the William Hill shop in the upper High Street closing its doors (see The Guildford Dragon NEWS report in July Two out of three William Hill’s Guildford betting shops to close). This leaves four shops in a row in the upper High Street empty and looking desolate. The branch in Park Barn is to close at the end of September, staff told The Dragon.

William Hill, which had generated more that half of its retail revenues from fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT), has blamed the closures on “the Government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake on B2 gaming products [also known as FOBT]. Since then the company has seen a significant fall in gaming machine revenues.”

Sign in William Hill’s window. The closure of betting shops has been blamed on the government’s cap on fixed odds betting terminals.

Share This Post

Responses to New Coffee Shops Brewing But A Betting Shop Lost

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    August 22, 2019 at 10:49 am

    While the various bookmakers blame the government’s restrictions on betting terminals for the demise of their shops, surely their own moves to online gaming and betting must also have significantly reduced footfall in their various high street premises? That same online gaming and betting doesn’t need a staffed high street premises, so the bookies don’t need to pay to rent a shop and staff it. Easy to blame the government, but I feel the bookies have certainly had their own part to play in the demise of their high street footprint.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *