Lewes Forum thread

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W.E. Clark

On 28 Mar 2013 at 12:08pm Townie wrote:
According to Viva, WE Clark is going to become an antique shop. Just what we needed. This town deserves to die on its ar$e
On 28 Mar 2013 at 12:19pm David Clark wrote:
Our 1 Cliffe premises is going to be an antique shop, but it is an existing Lewes business that want to progress by expanding. The fact that this premises is not going to be vacant, and is occupied by a successful business should be applauded.
I wish you all the best with your attitude to life Townie, however there is really no need to be so venomous.
David Clark
On 28 Mar 2013 at 12:23pm Townie wrote:
So how many antique shops does this town need Mr Clark ? Is there nothing else or no imagination out there.
I don't blame you for it, it's the system and the way this god forsaken town has turned into a bunch of upper class snobs.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 12:48pm Lewesian wrote:
There would be more useful shops here if the people of Lewes supported them, instead of flocking wholesale to the supermarkets or buying off the Internet
On 28 Mar 2013 at 12:50pm David Dickinson wrote:
In the 30 years I've lived here, Lewes has always had a lot of antique shops...nothing new then!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 1:02pm Southover Queen wrote:
Dear dear, Townie and "Stunner". As Mr Clark says, there's no need to be venomous, not that that's likely to stop anyone round here.

It's got nothing to do with DFLs and everything to do with how shoppers behave, mixed in with factors like sky high rents and business rates. The residents of Lewes do not support the ordinary shops you say we all want, and certainly not to the extent that they can pay their way. As Lewesian says, we buy most if not all of what we want on the internet and in the supermarkets, so the people who buy stuff on the high street tend to be visitors. Visitors want knick-knacks and antiques so those are the shops which survive.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 1:04pm Old Cynic wrote:
Spot on Lewesian - if all the 'normal' shops were supported they would still be open now - but people would rather use supermarkets and out of town stores because its 'cheaper' or 'convenient' = you get the shops you deserve. If the so called DFLs stay away and dont spend their money in our shops then Lewes would be DEAD and useless is that what you want 'stunner'? Really? And if Kirsty or one of the other programmes come to shop in town - what do people see? An interesting and vibrant town - pity some of the 'locals' are so bleedin' miserable and unwelcoming though!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 1:20pm slarty wrote:
There is also the way that antique hunters go about purchasing.
Very often, they will browse and buy what they like, rather than going somewhere with the intention of buying a specific thing. That way, it is better if antique shops gather together, so an antique purchaser will go to one place to look at many shops (like the Laines in Brighton or Petworth).
I can't see Lewes is lacking in any types of shops and an occupied shop is better than an empty one.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 1:38pm screen4 wrote:
Lewes is known for its Antique shops. They draw in enormous numbers of people who would not come here otherwise. They then spend money in other places in Lewes, keeping them open. If people want to open shops for other businesses, there are plenty of empty premises to use, a number of which are about 50ft away from this property. Mr Clarke's old shop is hardly ideal for many retailers is it?
Funnily enough , i have never been inside, because i don't buy Jewellery, so this change will increase the likelihood of me shopping in that property, and it is also worth saying that Mr Clarke extended the other shop which remains as a larger , more efficiently arranged Jewellers, so there is now actually more, and better retail space in the town. Why moan about that? The Antique shop is a bonus, not an 'instead of'
When people complain about shops in the town I am always a bit bemused. Nothing is stopping all sorts of businesses from taking up our retail space. They chose not to, presumably because they do not think our town will be profitable, and /or the costs such as rates are too high. Instead we blame the person who does actually open a shop, as if they are responsible for some kind of loss.
Yes it would be nice to have more shops that i personally would prefer, but Lewes is only a small town, and in 2013 it's beautiful Historic streets are hardly ideal for the kind of additional things I would like to use. I just see it as being the price to pay, and look at what has happened to the towns that do have more choice. These places usually have a sad display in the local Museum showing how the excellent modern facilities were created by demolishing some of the town, and putting a ring road through it.
I am happy with the compromise.

On 28 Mar 2013 at 1:43pm TDA wrote:
Changing tack slightly - what's happened to Paperchase opening?
On 28 Mar 2013 at 2:18pm sjep76 wrote:
With regards to Paperchase, when I walked through the precinct this morning it had purple hoarding at the front so something must be happening.
With regards to the subject I have lived in Lewes for 34 of the 37 years of my life (the first 3 years spent in Chatham as my Dad was in the Navy). Last week myself and 2 of my children needed a pair of shoes each. I did a few calculations and it was actually more cost effective for me and 3 children to get the bus to Brighton, have lunch there as well as buy 3 pairs of shoes. While I was there I also popped in to Card Factory and stocked up on cards, went to a poundshop to top up the childrens sweety pot.
I feel quite sad that a town I grew up in can't provide myself and the next generation with something simple like a pair of shoes.
Uckfield and Burgess Hill are also fairly small towns but they seem to sustain larger chain businesses without the place being demolished, in fact they seem to thrive. If a company like Stead and Simpson (or Shoezone) are unwilling to pay the kind of rates being asked then what hope is there to encourage more shops of their kind.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 2:20pm Numberjack wrote:
Ex Priory 1988 Stunner wrote : "Are you mental slarty? Lewes is lacking in: butchers, greengrocers, fishmongers, bakers, affordable kids clothes shop, affordable shoe shop, toy shop, affordable adults clothes shops, department store (e.g. Wilkinsons), etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc"
Butchers - Richards at the top of town & Boathouse in the Riverside
Greengrocers - Lewes Fruit & Veg at the top of the town
Fishmongers - In the Riverside
Bakers - Flint Owl on School Hill, Patisserie on Station street and one in Bus station
Affordable Kids Clothes - M & Co in the Cliffe
Affordable shoe shop - Place opposite the Town Hall, can't remember what it is called
Toy Shop - Bright Ideas, Wickle, OK, these are not huge.
It would seem that you don't know about any of the above, have you ever been to Lewes?
If you think there is a gap in the market for all of these shops, why don't you open one or more of them? You would then find out just how hard it is to run a small independent shop in Lewes selling things that people want to buy either on-line, in a supermarket or in another town.
The other butchers & bakers etc. all closed because they could not make it pay, if the customers don't walk through the door, you can't sell to them.
Your lack of knowledge of the above shops, shows that you yourself are not using the "local" shops, thus adding to the demise of your once cherished "'normal' shops for working class folk".
Next time engage your brain before starting to type!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 2:30pm sjep76 wrote:
Numberjack, the places you mention are all very nice shops but to someone like myself they are not affordable!!!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 2:55pm brixtonbelle wrote:
Supermarkets and chain stores open where they will make a decent profit. Lewes seems to attract more expensive shops because that's the demographic that the town attracts. I agree 'ex priory..', it would be nice to have reasonably priced 'ordinary' shops that serve the less well-off sections of the local community, but the rents in Lewes seem to be too high for independents that could compete. I read on this forum that the rent on a shop in the precinct alone is 40K a year...
Combine that with the internet and the chain stores in Brighton and its difficult for any shop apart from the big chains to open up. There is a tiny ray of hope in that many responses to the proposed new development on the Phoenix site said they wanted to see cheaper shop/business space rentals to encourage small and new business in the town, so lets hope that happens.
I also think part of the answer is for a regular weekly market where traders are able to sell cheaper goods (including clothing etc) without having to pay the horrendous rents. In fact can anyone direct me to the nearest regular market locally where you can buy everything - not just farmers market or expensive craft markets ?

On 28 Mar 2013 at 3:03pm Old Cynic wrote:
Stunner - you really should change your name to charmer -try to be polite at least!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 3:09pm Independent Thinker wrote:
Stunner, I find the Riverside fishmongers almost always cheaper than Tesco or Waitrose, and you get fresh, local fish. Do you shop there? Why is that on your list? On top of the three bakeries Numberjack listed there's Forfar's as well. But I'm guessing you buy your bread from a supermarket like most people do, which is why only the specialist bakeries making premium products can survive against that competition. You've missed out on the fresh meat sold every Friday in the clock tower, and the monthly farmers markets, to go with the two butchers we already have. I'm sure they'd all love to hear your ideas for how they can bring their prices down and still stay in business, but higher turnover from more people buying from them instead of Tesco would be a great start. But most tellingly, you mention toys. There was a toy shop up until a few years ago at the foot of the High Street. Closed because not enough ordinary people used it. People keep coming on here to say what shops should be in town, instead of the ones that are, but where the choice is actually there, they don't use it.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 3:10pm Southover Queen wrote:
France, probably, BB, in answer to your last question.

It's not just the rents, although I think they're absurdly high - the rates seem to more or less match them. I remember a discussion here that the rent the landlord was asking for the old Julian Graves shop combined with the rates amounted to a total of £80k per annum. No "ordinary" retailer is going to be able to fund that out of "ordinary" takings, so the only shops which survive are ones which (a) are offering stuff which can't be bought on the internet such as coffee shops or hairdressers or (b) are selling stuff with BIG profit margins.

I don't understand why the landlords aren't reducing the rents or sweetening the deal in some other way. It does seem a bit crazy to talk about building more retail space when what we already have is underused or boarded up.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 3:57pm Lewes lady wrote:
The way of the world now, SJep76, is that if you want cheaper fruit and veg than the shop on Western Road, you go to Aldi. There isn't a way for an independent shop to be any cheaper than they are now and still survive.
I suspect that the principal viable route for new retail space in North St will be different, more-in-demand sizes and shapes of units than currently exist around the precinct / town. Also of appeal will be a new 'destination' location; new+river leads to cafes leads to people leads to wandering leads to browsing leads to shopping. The risk will be impacting on the High St etc.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 4:37pm Happy Shopper wrote:
SQ, it's true the cost of overheads in prime positions is too high for independent businesses to make a profit.
Back in the 90's Julian graves was a green grocers, the same Brighton based firm had another shop where Cafe Nero is now, also a green grocers in Fisher street and Bill's in the Cliffe. i think anyone that knows Bill would know how he used to bragg how he would under cut the others selling his produce sometimes at cost to make trading difficult for them.
In the end even Bill had to find another route with his cafe because in his words 'there's no money in fruit and veg'....Good luck to him, he made the right
On 28 Mar 2013 at 6:13pm Rotten Tomatoes wrote:
Good luck to the man that undercut a fair price to force competitors out of business? I don't think so. It is perfectly possible to run a decent greengrocers in a town like Lewes, and make a profit, but not with that kind of thing going on. What do we get from bill's dodgy business practise. No greengrocer . Thanks a bunch.)
On 28 Mar 2013 at 6:22pm congrats Newhaven wrote:
Sjep, I agree with you that it is sad, but unfortunately this is happening all over the country and is is not specific to Lewes. I blame decades of enabling increasingly bigger companies getting unfair advantage, with tax loop holes etc etc , price undercutting on basics such as milk, and changes in our ability to travel further afield. 40 years ago, fewer of us would drive anywhere to do normal shopping so the town could guarantee a market,Shopping is now a free for all and that has resulted in change.The ultimate irony is that i actually want to buy less. I am fed up with a house full of ever changing crap, so I would prefer less shops, selling better quality. Buying essentials is different, and I do appreciate that people looking for those are disadvantaged.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 7:57pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I have no problem with Clarks becoming another antique shop, but then I like antique shops. They're an attraction and the visitors that come to browse will probably stop for lunch or a pint and maybe buy other stuff as well.
I'd rather it was becoming a bookshop though!
On 28 Mar 2013 at 9:41pm Ed Can Do wrote:
As well as Terry's having cheaper fish than Tesco, most of the meat I get from Boathouse is cheaper than Tesco, plus I know that when he tells me it's beef, the meat actually comes from a cow and more to the point, one that lived just down the road in a field.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 9:57pm the old mayor wrote:
And don't forget the poor sods who have to stand behind the counters and have you lot coming in on a daily basis, with your torrents of idle remarks, comments, drivel, thoughts, opinions, two cents worths, wisecracks, both nice and rude, and that's without actually buying anything ! I joke you not. Believe me you're not fun.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 10:33pm Judge Montal wrote:
Its hard enough to get any decent food in Lewes so might as well be posh an starving..
I hope it sells high end antiques at a reasonable prices rather than the same old same old.
On 28 Mar 2013 at 11:38pm Bruciare il Papa wrote:
The proposed antique shop is an expansion of Le Magasin (previously Moorey's)
On 29 Mar 2013 at 2:34am papa dont preach wrote:
Yesterdays news then!
On 29 Mar 2013 at 10:45am numberjack wrote:
sjep76 - I suggest you go in and find out the prices, the majority of what they sell is VERY good value for money, yes some things are more expensive, but with increased custom from yourself & priory stunner, perhaps they can reduce prices. Start a trend, support your local shops, you never know it might work!
I think at the end of the day, if you want cheap tasteless c r a p, go to the supermarkets and by their "value" range. If you want good quality, buy the supermarket "premium" range if you really have to, or preferably use an independant butchers, baker, greengrocers...... Where the price is higher, buy less and enjoy it more!
As an exercise, go to Richards on Tuesday and buy a chicken breast, then go to tesco and buy a chicken breast (if teco will actually sell you just one!).
Compare the price per kilo of these two items. Then cook them both in the same way, preferably simply without strong additional flavours. Then eat them, share with friends and family. Then consider which one tastes better.
Then with all the information that you have gathered above, make an informed judgement about which is better value for money.
I await your feedback on this.
On 29 Mar 2013 at 1:04pm sjep76 wrote:
Numberjack, I actually have no problem with food buying within the town except for the fact my 2 year old wanted a banana the other day and rather than people listening to her screeching all the way to Western Road thought I'd pop into Bill's. I was having a laugh!!!
My winge was about shoes, I admittedly use Clarkes for school shoes but refuse to pay 30 odd quid for a pair of trainers my son will either have pulled the front off in a matter of days or used for something that will ultimately ruin them when he goes on a cub expedition.
My Grandad used to farm beef cattle and grow potatoes and wheat on a farm just outside Lewes which I used to spend alot of time on when I was younger. He still grows a massive amount of his own veg along with fruit trees aplenty so do understand alot about buying and eating good quality food. I have carried on this tradition but on a much smaller scale and grow some of my own veg.
I will agree that Lewes is a brilliant place to buy food as there are places catering for all requirements.
Non food items are another matter!!
On 31 Mar 2013 at 7:11pm Chillie123 wrote:
Firstly, Are there are a lot of antiques shops in Lewes, or just at the Cliffe end of Lewes?
Secondly, the Clark's are a Lewes based family, who over the years have contributed much to this town and the economy of Lewes. In fact Mr Clark and David Clark are passionate supporters of the town.
On 1 Apr 2013 at 9:21am the old mayor wrote:
I think there are more Charity Shops than Antiques Shops actually. Oh and a lot of Coffee Shops, and quite a few Book Shops (Old and New) Several Jewellers too !!
On 1 Apr 2013 at 3:08pm ms information wrote:
'Bruciare il Papa' you are wrong about the new antique shop being an 'expansion' of LeMagasin. That business was previously owned by Kevin & his family (new antique shop owners) but was sold some time ago to the current owners of LeMagasin who are a very friendly local family.
Guaranteed a smile under the new owners plus proper coffee & proper home cooked food.
On the earlier subject of rents etc I to am a local trader & I assure you 40k rent per annum would not get you ANY of the main high street shops, double it at least plus add rates/staff/utilities etc.
You can still make a living selling at small margins but you have to generate a big turnover & be realistic in what you will get out of it, forget the fancy cars & posh houses!
I wouldn't recomend high street retailing to everyone but dealing with the general public is NEVER boring & mostly a real pleasure especially in Lewes.
Personally another Antique shop would not have been at the top of my list however more importantly the town needs the three empty precinct shops filled quickly.
An abolishment of the current catastrophic parking scheme & a major reduction in rates wouldn't go amiss either.......I won't hold my breath on either as we have an anti car council pre-occupied with painting pointless 20mph signs on our precious roads, rather than looking at the bigger economic benefit of encouraging a thriving high street through brave thoughtful decision making.
On 3 Apr 2013 at 2:56pm York wrote:
I think a pawn shop would be good

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