Costa Comes to the Roman

A branch of Costa Coffee opened in the Roman Road last week.


Is this a good idea because it shows the market can attract a large chain outlet and shows that Roman can offer what people can find elsewhere?


Or is it a bad idea because it threatens the existing cafes and smaller coffee shops that have sprung up in the area, and just makes it the same as everywhere else.


What do you think?  Tell us by commenting below.


  1. Blah, blah big chain, blah, blah end of the world!

    I cannot believe the small mindedness of some people, yes it’s a Costa Coffee, a well known brand in a traditional location oh no.

    Should anyone bother to take the time to speak to the staff, they would realise that this franchise is in fact owned by an individual, not Whitbread, gasp, shock!

    Roman Road market used to be a great place to shop, yet now it is depressing and the same as every other market.

    God forbid somebody should try something new, this is a well known brand, something that people have confidence in. We should support the courage to open a new business, in an area desperately in need of regeneration.

    I wonder if people would have made such a fuss about a pound shop opening up!

    If you want to get to know the people behind the brand then go along to one of their new free coffee making sessions.

    Great store, friendly staff, lets hope the negative nellies of the world don’t push this business out.

  2. I have heard that the Costa Franchisee and his employees were one of only two local businesses to show up at the recent #BetterRomanRoad workshop which was a vital stage in developing an action plan for the future of Roman Road. That is a shame considering there are many people who clearly have views and opinions which could be harnessed for the markets improvement overall and for the benefit of the entire community.

  3. For me it is great to see a fresh new store in Roman Road bringing a quality product and clean and bright environment to the area. The market has deteriorated significantly from the vibrant and trendy place to shop it was when I visited as a teenager and without investment from local business people (the franchisee grew up in the area) I can only see this historical market attracting fewer and fewer people. Before attacking so called “big brands” perhaps consider who actually has invested, employed local people and is doing their best to help revitalise an area they know and love. The team in Roman Road Costa are working very hard to provide a good service, to know their community and offer a warm welcome to everyone who visits their store.

  4. wow, some people really have no idea about local business, If you all believe that because its a Costa it musta be owned by Whitbread then you all have alot to learn and before shouting of your mouths maybe you should go and have a chat (like I did) with the guys in the store. First of all they employed local people to train and work in the store and secondly are looking to get involved with the local community everyway they can, (support charities etc) but most of all they are not owned by Whitbread but a small local Franchise.
    Just sometimes it would be nice to find out some facts instead of shouting about stuff you have no idea about.
    Ive been going to Roman Road since I was young and to be honest its becoming a dirty waste of time so maybe the bourough needs to get rid of as you say cheap “chicken shops” and “buy any tat” shops and bring some class back to what used to be a very busy high street.
    And 30,000 vouchers really… I believe it was less than 5000 and yes the word “Free” was used isnt it nice to give something for free these days.
    was very well received to by the whole area, Wonder how many went back after they had something for “FREE”

  5. Whoopy dooh. A community notice board. Lip service to the locals. Get real Ray. Whilst you’re supping your Frappacino in your comfy Costa armchair think about the livelihoods that are destined to be lost whilst Whitbread clock up the global profits. It’s not just capitalism – it’s exploitation and destruction of a great working class community. ‘Our Bow’? Sounds more like YOUR Bow. Not sure about this site any more. Your politics are like the worst of New Labour.

  6. In the month before they opened Costa’s gave out 30’000 free coffee vouchers to the ‘local’ community. A massive loss leader only possible by their huge multi national presence. This drummed up immediate business for themselves but also is having the immediate effect of starving the other cafes of business. This is capitalism at its worst, big corporate money muscling in to squash the opposition. Which by the way are small independent family run local businesses, some of which have been in the Roman for years. Is that fair?? Nigel McC comments above are all the rest you need to know – very well put! If you are a local coffee drinker then please spend wisely. Trust me within only a 20 second walk you will find better coffee at a cheaper price in a nicer environment and you will not be lining the pockets of greedy corporate led investors who care neither about you or OUR local community.

  7. Cosmetically of course this looks like positive regeneration, but actually economic research (especially recent stuff from the New Economics Foundation – NEF), has shown that the arrival of large corporate chains in poor areas actually make the areas poorer. Their research up and down the UK showed that twice the money spent in locally owned shops stayed in the community.

    Here’s the theory: Buying locally increases the ‘velocity’ of money. As local shops don’t make such a big profit, the money they make circulates much faster than it would in a large corporation, as owners purchase supplies and employ workers – driving the money right back into the community. The faster money circulates, the more hands it passes through, the better it is for our economy. Velocity was stable from the 1950s to the 1970s, but it slowed with the advent of increased inequality in the 1980s. From this period (Thatcher) the money started to divert to the financial sector, average wages stayed still, inflation rose due to higher incomes at the top, spending power reduced, people took out loans and….the cycle of poverty increases.

    Where communities fight the encroachment of these corporate chains who make profits for shareholders (Costa is owned by WHITBREAD plc), local businesses are encouraged to grow and therefore more money spent stays within these communities.

    So, yes the new Costa looks all shiny and new, but we will sadly see losers – and those losers are local businesses and local people who through their high street becoming corporatised, will ultimately see their own poverty spiral down. Take a trip to towns like Rotherham in South Yorkshire – local businesses closed and chains like Costa moved in – now years on, the actual poverty levels of local people has become even worse, as the hard-earned money they spend in their nice high street corporate chains gets sucked outwards and upwards to the absentee shareholders, who inevitably don’t live in Rotherham. Think about it – how much of the money we spend in Costa will honestly stay within Bow? Very little indeed – from suppliers of sugar right through to napkins – none of these items will be sourced anywhere near Tower Hamlets.

    The wise and savvy people of Totnes led a massive community campaign to stop Costa moving in to their Devon town high street. Their thinking was to ensure the town maintained a majority of local businesses run by local people for local people. This means money spent locally stays at least 2 times longer in the local area – this is what regenerates local economies.

    The new Town Centre Manager needs to do much more than this. This is not thinking outside the box – it is the “been there done that” school of thought. The Roman needs clear blue skies thinking not just trying to get corporates to move in and drain local cash for profit. If the only idea in the Town Centre Manager Office is to grab corporate chains then the people living around the Roman will not see a revival in their lot, and I for one would rather live in a place that had a local economy resembling Totnes in Devon than Rotherham!

  8. Hi. Yes that is me on the left of the Costa photo. Andy & I went to have a look on Fri.15th Nov. It is certainly very up market, from what as been going on in the Roman Rd area of late. I believe it is the start of hopefully the Regen of this famous area. Went inside very spacious & welcoming. We spoke to the Manager, after noticing their community notice board on display. He is allowing us to advertise So if you see it. Please give us quote.

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