Wednesday, 24 July 2013

RIP WP Mini Mart

16th May 2013 – 23rd July 2013

This blog is sorry to report the sad demise of the WP Mini Mart after a brief two month struggle to survive in Central Road.

The ‘Mart as it had become fondly known closed its doors for the last time after a final day’s trading on Monday the 22nd of July just a little over two months after opening its doors as reported by this blog.

The blog understands that the owners had been given 6 months rent free to help grow the business but even that wasn’t enough to keep the doors open.

Doomed from the start?

This blog is always sad to see independent businesses go under but would like to suggest that the future tenants take into account a couple of what I think are basic principals before pouring their life savings into a new venture.

  • Don’t just offer the same stuff already available in half a dozen other shops within 100 metres. If people want to buy that stuff they will go where they have been going for years already.
  • Fill your shop. Nothing screams ‘temporary’ more than under used space in a shop. One drinks fridge, a couple of shelves and stands along the walls and a sweet counter in front of the till doesn't look or feel like a ‘complete’ shop. Nor does it make me want to come in and find out what interesting things I might discover in there.

I hope this doesn’t come across as patronizing but I am sick of seeing shops open and then close so quickly. Having once run a small business myself I know how much people have to invest personally as well as financially to try to get any business off the ground and of course they lose all of it with no compensation if the business fails.

Readers may be interested that Scola are running a program called Shine to help grow businesses in the local area. If you are running or are thinking of starting a local business you might want to find out more about what they are offering and can do so here:

8 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

DT said...

WOW! A mini mart, opening opposite a Costcutter, in a high street with other convenience stores and supermarkets, fails after just a couple of months. How did they not foresee that happening. The monumental levels of blind stupidity some people posses is staggering. I doubt very much they will learn from this and will probably open up a hairdressers in the very near future.

Good luck to them regardless.

Barry Cullum said...

I’ve read your full blog on this, and one statement stands out:
“DOOMED FROM THE START” and I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve recently moved to Kent, I’ve lived the vast proportion of my 60
years in Worcester Park and I’ve seen a heck of a lot of changes
to Central Road in that time…. Mostly not for the better I will add….
But this recently closed business really takes the biscuit.
don’t know who advised them on this venture, or indeed whether they
took any in the first place, but everything about it was WRONG WRONG
WRONG from the beginning.
You summed up a lot of what was wrong in your blog, but I think I am qualified to expand upon the reasons for its demise.
Look at the picture you have of it. Its façade looks scruffy and cheap.
It is about as inviting as an ashtray full of dog ends. No imagination;
it looks exactly the same as a myriad of other shops in less salubrious
parts of London.
What exactly is a “Mini Mart” supposed to mean? When all they were
flogging was virtually the same as nearby, well-established, competitors
as you’ve already pointed out. “Mini” suggests to me they’ve already
given up the ghost before they’ve even got going.
Wrong part of the high street. Ever since I was a kid, the upper end of
Central Road was always known as the “crummy end” for everyday
shopping, and it still is. In fact, since they turned Central Road into
an assault course for drivers and pedestrians alike 25 years ago, it’s
got a lot worse. What with parking being almost an impossibility,
passing trade must have been almost non-existent.

do feel sorry for anyone who loses money in any venture, but that is
about as far as my sympathies go in this case. Central Road used to be a
great place for shopping. Today, all that can be said is that it is
just about “OK”. Over the years I have got to be fed up with the cheap
and trashy looking shops that have replaced good many businesses that
were ripped out of the main street by the success of the supermarket
built on what was once a great feature of Central Road… Namely the
large, and free, car park at the back of Stone Place. I’m not going for
a walk down memory lane here, I’m sure most of the longer established
residents of Worcester Park remember the good times. To those not so
long established… hard luck, you missed it. Those days are never coming
back to Worcester Park.

Guest said...

With regard to the façade, actually plastering the entire windows with posters made it look like a closed and empty shop, even when it wasn't!
If a shop shows no sign of life inside, few people are going to notice it from the outside - and of those that do, very few are going to give it a second glance.
A shop that looks closed, even when it is open - a duff concept or what?

Barry Cullum said...

Forget the "what"..... it's a duff concept anywhere, let alone Worcester Park

Parkerilla said...

those sort of shops used to make their money from being open in the evening when the other high street shops had shut. Now with Sainsbury's open to 10pm and Waitrose to 9pm along with some well established late night corner shops in Central Rd already they could never compete.

barrow boy said...

The real trouble is no retail outlet stands a chance starting from scratch in this day and age. Even if they have free rent for a few months the cost of stocking a shop so it doesn't look empty is so high that it makes it a high risk enterprise.

Many decades ago when I was youngster growing up in Central London, there was a local street market and there was an established progression. 1) Suitcase on legs and a sharp set of eyes for the police and market inspector. 2) Market stall, needs much less stock and very few fittings. 3) Shop, when you had the money and clientele.

Sadly, this is not option in this area, so the high risk option is the only one.

tin foil hat said...

Hmmm putting my conspiracy theory hat on it makes you wonder if the failure was a deliberate ploy for money laundering for a few months on the cheap. I remember when the cafe next to nefis was raided for being a front for trafficking illegal immigrants. And that al Janet was put up and 'failed' so predictably, I mean did any one actually think al janets would be successful let alone see any one go in buy anything.

Barry Cullum said...

I had to laugh when I read your piece Tin Foil... The obvious was slapping us all in the face and you're the only one who felt it.
I suspect you've hit the nail squarely on the head here.... well done mate!

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