Costa is open for business - but is everyone happy?

Costa Coffee is officially open for business today (Wednesday). EMN-180711-101832001
Costa Coffee is officially open for business today (Wednesday). EMN-180711-101832001

There was no fanfare of trumpets, no red ribbon and no sign of any photo-loving celebrities or councillors.

In fact, when the Horncastle branch of Costa Coffee opened for business last Tuesday. Apparently the only sign of life was a couple of pensioners peering through the window...and an elderly gent watching his dog cock its leg on the phone box outside the nearby Post Office.

All that soon changed. Within a few minutes, word had spread. The news was out...Costa was open for business.

For the last few weeks, contractors had been busy converting the former Achurch and Sons hardware store.

Having been around Horncastle for more than a century, AChurch was something of a local instituion.

Whether Costa will be around for quite that long is open to question.

The actual opening date had been shrouded in doubt. Some said November 7, others November 14.

As soon as the contractors moved out - and they have done an impressive job - staff moved in.

As rain started to fall from slate grey skies, the first cusomers ventured inside.

So, what is it like?

Well...it’s like a Costa....the usual fixtures and fittings.

The interior looks clean, sharp and impressive. There’s not a single lingering sign of the previous occupants.

New floor, new toilets...Sunday opening.

According to reports, there were teething problems...no cashcard machine, no wi fi and the till soon ran out of change.

Apparently, staff had to dash to Tesco to strip the shelves of double cream.

Some people were quick to complain about queues.

There again, you can experience those at any of Costa outlets.

When I called in, it was service with a smile...even if it was a slightly harassed smile.

Perhaps that had to be expected. New staff, new premises, new equipment although some of the tables look like they are ‘on loan’ from a local school.

By day three, the queues were still in evidence but the ‘coffee-making operation’ was running more smoothly.

I suppose £3.70 is the going rate for a takewaway latte (large) but 65p for a banana.

Certainly, the ‘young crowd’ love it.

Emma and her friend Lisa (22 and 18) thought it was brilliant, saying: “We need moreplaces like this in Horncastle.”

Peter Clark (67) had a slightly different view. He took one look and promptly headed to one of the town’s many independent coffee shops.

The jury is out on whether those independents will suffer.

Could Costa attract more people? A rival? Yes. A revival? Time will tell...