Screen icon Marilyn Monroe has put in an appearance in Whitstable.... some Warholesque prints of the film star now adorn the 'keep left' bollard at the end of Sea Street in front of Whitstable Yacht Club. Probably something to do with the Biennale....?
Wine shop disappearsThe 'secondary' outlet of the Tankerton Wine Room, a smaller version in Harbour Street, is closing after only a few months. The owners say they have done quite good business, but not enough to warrant having the second shop, so it's shutting up this weekend.
They took over the premises following the retreat of Magma Wines. A pity they are going, because we bought some interesting varieties there which you can't get in the supermarkets plus were given some sound advice.
And it means another empty shop for Whitstable, following the recent closures of Clinton Cards, Olivia's cafe and soon Stead & Simpson.
Many of us have heard that these larger premises are attracting interest from big names. Tesco are involved in a coffee shop partnership which may take over Clinton's (see earlier post), and WH Smith are rumoured to be (yet again) coveting an opening in Whitstable.
Personally I think empty premises are on balance a worse evil than chain shops (compare Margate), but we want to maintain a balance which makes our High Street interesting. Ideally I would like to do 100% of my shopping without getting in a car, and one or two national chains would contribute to that where there are 'gaps' in the present range of retail in Whitstable. Where can I buy a printer cartridge here, for example?
At least one local person doesn't like the idea of Tesco moving in, even as a junior partner in a coffee bar, for since last weekend a notice has been pasted in the window of Clinton Cards urging opposition.
At the same time, many independent traders are worried about big rent increases which may end up changing the face of the High Street.
If you are interested in following these developments, go to the Facebook page Save Whitstable Shops.