Friday, 21 March 2008

A site to behold

If you’ve been following this blog from the beginning, you may be wondering whatever happened to the café I came to London to start. All this researching and talking is well and good but there comes a time when you just need to start walking.

Well let me assure you, I want to walk. I want to run, sprint and leap but I feel like I’m in that recurring dream where I’m trying to run but no matter how fast my legs move I always stay in the same spot.

The first hurdle has been finding a site. As an independent start-up with no track record and trying to do it on my own rather than paying for a scouting agent, this has been no easy task. It has involved lots of meetings with estate agents, lots of web searching, lots of cycling around London and lots of frustration.

Finally a break through came in October last year. I found a site in Bute Street, South Kensington, which met most of our selection criteria: an inner city suburban area populated by high income professionals and ‘yummy mummys’, room for outside seating, near a school, a tube station and lots of crap cafes. The best part was that it was already operating as a popular café so I could move straight in and start trading.

It was a done deal. We’d popped the champagne, I’d quit my job at Tom’s. I’d even drafted the blog entry “You Bute”. With the Fulham site, I’d learnt that if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. With Bute St I learnt my second lesson. A property is not off the market until contracts are exchanged.

It is a long sorry saga that dragged on for many months but the short of it is, we were gazumped not once but twice and finally had to accept that this was not the site for our cafe.

Of course the reason I am able to write this blog entry is because we now have a site - although contracts have not officially been exchanged. What was that lesson I said I’d learnt? I’m a believer in happy endings and my gut instinct tells me that I’ve found the site for our café. But before I pop the champagne or say too much more I might just wait until there is ink on a contract.

Watch this site…

No comments: