Let’s get the bad news over and done with shall we? But is it bad news Jeff? Is it really bad news? Well, it kind of depends… but mostly yes.
Chez Chevallier, the florist that was never really going to work, hasn’t worked out. The shutters have been down for a while and all those people who bought their flowers from M&S, Waitrose and WildAbout Flowers rather than going to Chez Chevallier will simply have to carry on doing just that. It was a funny place with its sign about Dutch Flowers, Belgian Chocolates and Champagne – although it should really have been Luxembourg Fizz to go for the Benelux triple challenge, of course. The reality is (or was) was that it didn’t seem to have enough variety to challenge the dedicated florists but nor did it have cheaper selections available for the ‘impulse buyers’.
And talking of shops on Heath Road that no one went in, Bubbles, which carried a selection of soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and dust has also closed down. It’s now under new management. They’ve retained the Bubbles name (but hopefully not the brand ethos) and is now selling a wider range of convenience store stuff. Good luck to ’em.
Further up Heath Road, Karahi Spices is also billing itself as ‘under new management’. The authentic Indian veggie place has struggled to build a strong customer base despite serving good food at decent prices and it remains to be seen what changes this ‘new management’ will bring about other than giving up the veggie only status. It’s hard to see how switching to a more mainstream “Indian” menu will be the solution given the dozen or more other places serving the same fare within a short walk.
And just over the road, NKB News, the shop that got busted for selling alcohol to miners (yes, Arthur Scargill and the like) is to change hands. There’s an application in from a new lessee who is hoping to get a booze licence back and trade under the Rugby Food & Wine name.
The Harlequins Shop at Twickenham Green is also closing so if you want Quins gear you’ll need to get it at the Stoop. We also hear that there’s a planning request in to change to the sign above Laura Ashley from, ummm, Laura Ashley to something else. “But what?”, you cry. Well, it’s only bloody Sue Ryder, isn’t it. So expect another charity shop on Heath Road sometime soon. If you see it selling floral cushion covers then you’ll know where the stock came from.
NEW IN TOWNOn the plus side, Lulu’z is now open on London Road. It’s a new café in what used to be the Chinese restaurant. The window display includes some impressive cake-age and the interior looks quite stylish although we can’t help but wonder if £2.55 for a cappuccino and £2.50 for a croissant is a little steep in the ultra-competitive world of Twickenham café society. Give it a go.
Meanwhile, down Church Street Antique Interiors has set up shop in what used to be “Bowie”. The shop sells, and we quote, “interesting and inexpensive French, vintage and painted furniture, as well as a selection of old Victorian pine and an eclectic mix of modern home accessories and mirrors”.
And finally, on the boozing front we hear that the newish managers of The Rifleman pub are selling up and shipping out. They’d had a good go at making the pub work but it seems that a hefty rent rise has put paid to their plans. A shame. And if you want to read about two more pubs up for sale (The Marble Hill and The Old Anchor) then there’s a good piece on the St Margarets website about it.