Sometimes all is not as one would expect.
Godalming is an attractive little market town on the banks of the River Wey. A place one would expect to find little coffee shops and tea shops. And yet there is not single one.
Aldershot is an ugly run down town, the local council in bed with developers having done its best to destroy the town, roughs hanging about on the streets, were it not for the little ethnic shops serving its large immigrant population it would be dead, its only attraction an excellent fruit and vegetable stall on market days (Thursday). And yet, Aldershot has two little coffee shops.
Aldershot used to have three coffee shops. One was in The Arcade, the plastic replica of a Victorian arcade which the council allowed to be destroyed. The Arcade has recently changed hands and the greedy developer is driving out all the small businesses to turn it into a large bar (rumoured to be J D Wetherspoon) and a large store (rumoured to be Poundland). The last thing Aldershot needs is yet another large bar pouring drunken scum onto the streets. The last thing Aldershot needs is money drained out of the local economy. Loss to Aldershot one lovely little coffee shop of which any town would be proud.
One of the two remaining coffee shops is Coffee Mi in Victoria Street (almost opposite the Co-op).
Over the last few months Victoria Road has had new paving slabs laid. It looked quite nice for a couple of days. It was though an opportunity missed. Victoria Road could have been pedestrianised, closed to traffic, creating a pleasant environment, but the council jobsworth are not known for vision.
Coffee Mi lacks outside seating. Had Victoria Road been pedestrianised and closed to traffic, this would have been possible.
From the outside, Coffee Mi looks enticing. As you walk in it is quite pleasant, it looks like a coffee shop, but as the counter is approached, it changes into yet another snack bar cum transport café.
I asked did they do coffee and cake. The man serving said yes. All I could see was a trio of unappetising cakes that had seen better days. I asked did they have anything else. No.
I find when people take a pride in their work, if you take an interest, they are only too happy to talk to you. Not this man. Why are you asking, who are you, who do you work for? I do not know who he thought I was. Maybe he thought I was the Mafia doing a shakedown.
I managed to glean the cakes came from an Italian bakery in London, and that was it. His lips were tightly sealed.
Fair Trade tea and coffee? I saw nothing to indicate Fair Trade. From the look of the place I doubt it.
There was only one customer, and she left as I walked in. To put in context, Costa as I passed by was quite busy.
A transport café masquerading as a coffee shop.
The owner does own a transport café nearby, Frankies Cafe. I ate there last year. Never again, the service was very poor, rude and ignorant serving staff, and the food matched the service.
Aldershot has one Costa Coffee shop. One too many. It occupies the prime location in the town centre, on the corner where the two pedestrianised streets intersect, and at the centre of the Thursday market. The council turns a blind eye to its board in the middle of the street acting as an obstacle.
The two independent coffee shops are on the fringes, many people are probably not even aware of their existence as they get little passing trade.