When the going gets tough, the shops get going… from our town centres. Harsh? Yes. True? Probably. In our latest High Street Update we cover the usual array of departures but some good arrivals too. In fact with all these comings and goings it’s busier than Heathrow Terminal 6!
Costa Coffee has now been open for a couple of months on London Road. It’s where Mail Boxes and the Princess Alice Hospice charity shop used to be. Costa obviously spotted a gap in the market in Twickenham, a very tiny gap indeed. Nero. Check. Starbucks. Check. Costa. Check. We’ve got ’em. Add to that the likes of The Press Room (good coffee, btw), Corto (awesome almond croissants), Cafe Zizou, York Street Cafe, Ruben’s Bakehouse, Sapori TW1, Caffe Roma, Harris & Hoole, Rosie Chai and err, all the others and we reckon that Twickenham’s got its tea and coffee bases covered for the time being don’t you? Room for one more? On Water Lane, where Emily’s furniture store was, The German Bakery is up and running selling bread, cakes, coffee and enough gluten-free products to keep the most ardent gluten-phobe happy.
Talking of national chains which we sort of were, The Old Anchor pub on Richmond Road has been converted into flats with a mini Co-op supermarket on the ground floor. It’s due to open round about now and joins the ranks of Tesco, Sainsbury and M&S Food in the great pantheon of ‘express’ supermarkets in the town.
Opposite the Co-op, the restaurant that was, among other things Rubiks and very fleetingly Chungs is now Noush Richmond. We wish Noush Richmond well but we do wonder if they know that they’re not actually in Richmond. According to the sign, it sells ‘exclusive Indian street food’ and we are left to ponder whether the words ‘exclusive’ and ‘street food’ can really co-exist in the same sentence. It’s a very straightforward paradox. Sticking with Indian food for a second, Taste of Mogul continues to be closed.
Heading east. In St Maragrets, The Toy Shop has had a re-vamp and going all the way over to East Twickenham, it’s definitely worth a mention that Ruben’s Bakehouse has opened a new branch at the corner of Richmond Road and St Margarets Road. “Sourdough for all!” will become the rallying cry of the East Twick residents. Nearby, just opposite Marble Hill Park, it was The Rising Sun, then The Aleksander and now it’s Alba. It’s been Alba for a few months but we have to admit that we only noticed recently. Perhaps you’d spotted the change? It’s website is albarichmond.com so maybe this idea of Twickenham being Richmond is really catching on. From east to west now and The Price Albert on Hampton Road has had a refurb which might be the only excuse you need to drop in for a swift one.
If you’re the sort of person who is out and about in Twickenham, dawdling along York Street trying to decide whether to pop into The Bear for a drink, or maybe get some food at The Chicago Ribshack or Miss Siam, but then suddenly gets the urge to purchase a posh new bathroom then you’re in luck! Hugo Oliver, purveyors of those very things to people in places like Charlton, Watford and Kings Cross will be opening a new showroom in December. It’s going to be in the shop where The Rugby Store used to be and which was a Bottoms Up wine store before that. Let’s hope this business doesn’t go for an early bath or down the plughole, etc, etc, etc.
In Church Street, the Mint hair salon and beauty spa has given itself some pampering and a shiny makeover. It’s reduced its footprint too and that part of the premises is now available to rent as a pop up.
Business news now. Do you ever find yourself wondering where you can find an accountant to assist with your tax? If you’re one of those people then the new TaxAssist Accountants on Heath Road could be for you. The clue’s in the name really. It’s on Heath Road and is aimed primarily at small businesses. It certainly has a strong brand presence. In other words, it’s bright blue and bright yellow.
Twickenham’s longstanding Chinese restaurant Jun Ming has closed and is being replaced by Ballaro, a Sicilian pizzeria and restaurant. Will it do well? Maybe. We certainly hope it lasts longer than the Sicilian restaurant on the opposite side of the road which never really took off and which closed a few months ago. Twickenham now lacks a Chinese restaurant which is a shame. Steers grill on London Road (was Wimpy before that) has closed and is going to become The Canteen. Apparently it will be serving fresh food, as opposed to stuff that’s gone off, perhaps?
At Twickenham Green, the institution that is Arthur’s on the Green has the lease up for sale. The owners are retiring after long and loyal service to the town. We certainly hope that whoever takes it on makes a success of this popular site. In other words, and to make the totally predictable toilet reference, it would be a real shame to see this place go down the pan.
In other news…
Clothing store M&Co on King Street has closed. The site, together with the adjoining Santander building is part of the grand scheme for developing the Riverside. Smile! Marc Jason’s Shoeworld is being turned into a dentist, as is the former shop/restaurant on the corner of Heath Road and Heath Gardens. Cafe Fresh also on Heath Road had a good run but it’s successor Perking Lot has already packed up. It is about to be replaced by a new (Chinese?) cafe called Sweet Diner.
And finally, Cakes World is closing down. When it does close its doors for the last time we will have to say goodbye to what must surely have been the most ‘unusual’ window display in Twickenham. Was it actually a display, was it just for overspill storage or lost property, or was it perhaps a bold statement on the human condition expressed through the medium of baking equipment? Like all good art, it’s a question that leading scholars could be discussing for many years to come.
That’s your lot. Get out there and shop!