Tesco - John C. Kirk
Jan. 7th, 2013
11:00 pm - Tesco
There used to be a pub in South Croydon called the Swan and Sugarloaf. However, this closed a few years ago, so the building was empty for a long time. Last year, the Whitgift Foundation (who own the property) announced that they were going to let Tesco build a new branch there. This plan wasn't very popular with the people who owned shops nearby, as reported in the Croydon Guardian.
Lots of these shops put up signs in their front doors, saying "Tell the Whitgift Foundation that you don't want Tesco here." I'm paraphrasing from memory, but they definitely said "that" rather than "if", which rubbed me the wrong way, so I didn't join in their protest. I can certainly see the appeal of shopping locally, e.g. to reduce food miles. However, if all the shops get deliveries of the same products (e.g. Kellogg's cereal) then I don't think it makes much difference which shop I go to. Similarly, one nearby shop used to be a Spar and now it's a Nisa Local, but the same people still work there, i.e. the shop is still providing jobs in the local community. So, I'm not really pro- or anti-Tesco.
The new branch opened in November, and I noticed that the car park didn't include any bike racks. That's not really an issue for me, because it's within walking distance of my flat, but I'd like to see bike racks just on general principles. I submitted this as a suggestion through the Tesco website, and someone phoned me a few days later. However, he thought that I was talking about a different branch, because this new one wasn't listed in his database yet. (He asked me when it was due to open, and I told him that it was already open!) I never heard back after that, so I assumed that nothing would come of this.
However, when I went past that branch tonight I noticed that they do have a new bike rack (Sheffield stand) outside the front doors. There are 3 hoops, but quite narrowly spaced, so it would probably fit 4 bikes, and there were already 2 bikes locked up there. So, credit where it's due: I've criticised supermarkets before (e.g. for excess carrier bags), but in this case they've actually listened to what I said and done something about it. Of course, my message may just be coincidental, but if so then that's fine too; I'm happy to see any shop which encourages cycling as an alternative to driving.