Belfast Telegraph

Retailers wake up and smell the coffee

By Margaret Canning

The march of coffee culture is relentless and is one of the more surprising aspects of the economic downturn. With many luxuries going out the window, many retail businesses pulled down their shutters.

But in some cases, those empty units were replaced by coffee shops, which draw the crowds that the former businesses failed to.

Other empty retail units were reopened as mobile phone businesses – though of course, the failure of Phones 4u has demonstrated that mobile phones are not the holy grail of successful retail.

The Lisburn Road in Belfast is a perfect illustration of the trend.

Coffee shops thrive on the BT9 thoroughfare – none more so than Cafe Mauds, which is now being sold by owner John Pell.

In fact, Cafe Mauds more than holds its own against much tougher competition on the Lisburn Road, including the usually indefatigable chains like Caffe Nero and Starbucks.

The move has come as a surprise to pretty much anyone who passes the cafe, usually jam-packed with customers filling up on sandwiches, pancakes – and, of course, the ice-cream which has made the Mauds name famous.

The changed face of retail on the Lisburn Road is demonstrated in the fact that Cafe Mauds is on the site which used to house high-end menswear retailer Carter.

Belfast Telegraph