Archive for the ‘Guildford’ Category

Koja in-house coffee shop New House Gallery Art Space

December 2, 2022

Once upon a time there was a coffee shop Turn Fit Deli in Chapel Street that was the number one coffee shop in Guildford, great coffee , great atmosphere. It was taken over by Surrey Hills Coffee, who destroyed it overnight. It was no surprise when it closed, the only surprise it had not closed sooner.

Only it had not closed, it had relocated to Jeffries Passage. Always empty, never saw the same staff twice.

Then a change of tack, sublet as a coffee shop, great businesses opportunity, buy our coffee. Only the lease did not permit sub-let.

One day the poor guy, having put in the effort to turn around the businesses, found himself out on the street. With the help of friends managed to rescue what he had in the shop.

Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, has reinvented itself as the in-house coffee shop for New House Gallery Art Space.

The rubbish Surrey Hills Coffee has been jettisoned now a choice of guest coffee.

My initial thoughts a dumb location, the only clientele struggling artists. I will turn my initial thoughts on its head. As an in-house coffee shop they provide a base line customer base. It is now down to word of mouth as no passing footfall and not easy accessible.

There are steps leading from Bridge Street but a locked gate blocks access. This is a fire risk. If there was a fire at the front off the building the only escape route is blocked.

The easiest way to access is from the foot bridge leading from Guildford Station over the River Wey. Even then not obvious.

Espresso martini at Tattams

September 30, 2022

Krema was closed. Why are they closing at four, it is not winter?

I decided on a coffee at Tattams. Not very good.

Stayed chatting to an attractive blonde. When her friend turned up and the two of them left, I stayed and had an espresso martini.

I was curious. They were using quality ingredients.

Everywhere does cocktails. No expertise. Cheap ingredients, high margins.

Classic espresso martini using Mr Black.

That was the only reason I stayed, espresso using Mr Black, not a cheap coffee liquor.

I can’t recall the vodka.

What I did not like, the fancy glass. Simple is elegance. Contrast with the coupe glass used at Notes.

Expensive, £10-50.

Downside, Mr Black has been acquired by a conglomerate. Not good news.

Lunch at Hanki

September 30, 2022

Excellent Korean lunch at Hanki, a little Korean restaurant in Jefferson Passage.

Afternoon in Guildford

September 30, 2022

Would I miss the rain? Sadly not. Would I make a return train, train strikes tomorrow. Luckily yes.

A coffee at FCB kiosk on Guildford Station. I had not meant to stop. I pick up coffee beans.

Walking over the footbridge. I cannot believe the work not complete. It is still not possible to climb down to the river and walk along the river into the town centre.

Zero fairly busy. Last year empty. But no one manning the zero waste. Packaging on the floor as walk in, a trio hazard. Overroasted black oily beans, oxidized. Not the way to buy coffee beans.

Lion and Lamb shopping centre derelict. Why was a derelict shopping centre shortlisted for a consumer service Award? A convenient shortcut, nothing more.

I wished to have lunch in Atto, a Korean restaurant. It has been trashed. Widescreen TV. Why destroy an excellent restaurant? Very depressing.

Walking through the market, lunch at Hanki, a tiny Korean restaurant. It was excellent.

As I am eating, heavy rain arrives.

Looked in Sol Sisters. Last year empty, no customers. Today very busy. I bought muesli.

I wished for coffee at Krema. Closed. Why are they closing at four, it is not winter?

I visited Tattams. Last year I had a coffee. It was excellent. Today not good. I then stayed and had an espresso martini.

Far too late for M&S. Reluctantly I visit Waitrose.

Passing the bus station, a bus leaving Aldershot. Will not let me board. I don’t like the bus. But by the time I walk down to the train station, wait for a train if I miss a train , bus would be quicker.

Twenty minutes wait for a train. To my surprise the train waiting. I double check. At least can sit on a warm train, not a cold station.

Calls for CEO of Guildford BID to resign

September 19, 2022

Calls have been made for Amanda Masters, CEO of Experience Guildford, to resign.

Let’s look at her -succes’ stories.

A couple of years ago sand was dumped in the centre of Guildford to create a beach replete with beach huts alongside the River Wey.

End of last year, empty shops had their windows flyposted to er highlight they were empty.

This summer a series of events. It would be an understemdnt to day thsr were not well attended.

Two weeks ago, an awards ceremony for the rigged Consumer Service Awards. Two hundred or more attended, drinks flowed like water all night. One attendee said they had never in their life seen so much Prosecco.

How much this cost ? That was what one local business wished to know who had decided enough was enough.

He asked Amanda Masters CEO Experience Guildford.

Her response, not only a point blank refusal to provide the information, but to claim she had been advised not to.

This begs the question, who had advised , or was she lying.

A second request not only for the information but also who is avising her to I struct free quests for information?

There is now a call for her to resign. If she is not accountsbks to businesses within the defined BID biundary rgen to whi is she accountable?

If Amanda Masters refuses to resign she should be fired. If the board refuses to fire her, the board should be removed.

Amanda Masters highlights why we need an inquiry into BIDs and a regulator.

Guildford has a BID Ballot in October. Local Businesses should Vote No. 👗

Experience Guildford Consumer Service Awards revisited

September 10, 2022

Monday evening saw Yvonne Arnaud Theatre host the worthless Experience Guildford Consumer Service Awards.

Invite only. Finalists from each category five tickets so that’s around 200 people or more, plus hangers on.

Winners received a tacky plastic trophy and a bespoke window sticker to display on their window.

Looking through the shortlist, board members, tenants of a board member, a promoter of the award.

Free drinks all night, one attendee said he’d never seen so much Prosecco in all his life.

Costa won an award. Owned by Coca-Cola, disgusting coffee, appalling service, but win a Consumer Service Award. I once asked an employee of Costa, why was the service so bad, the staff so miserable? She said if you worked for Costa you would understand.

M&S won an award. Their service is appalling.

Star Inn won an award. Services rendered, pushing for a Yes Vote in the local media.

Bear Garden won an award. I thought they had closed down. Limited opening hours, trade on-line. They win every year (bar one). Bear Garden sit on the board.

Host of the award, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, a board member.

How much did all this cost? One business asked.

The reply from Amanda Masters, Experience Guildford CEO, a point blank refusal to disclose the costs, even claimed she had been advised not to discuss with third parties outside of the board and her team.

Accountability, transparency? This is contempt for businesses in Guildford.

The response is not acceptable. This is a matter of public interest. Experience Guildford is accountable to local businesses, at least in theory. In practice, a secretive parasitical body that is killing local businesses with the BID Levy extortion racket.

Local businesses should Vote No in the October BID Ballot.

Experience Guildford rigged Consumer Service Awards

September 5, 2022

Who was covering the costs of the Experience Guildford rigged Consumer Service Awards held this evening?

Was this a ticketed event? Could anyone attend? If there was no ticket price, who was paying? Another abuse of the BID Levy extorted from local business?

The British would trade with foreign lands, but the natives with a few brightly coloured baubles.

Experience Guildford buys with worthless Consumer Service Awards and an invite where everyone pats everyone on the back and they get the opportunity to dress up in their finery and made to feel important.

If we look at the shortlist we find

– board members (at least two)

– tenants of a board member (at least two)

– promoter of the award

– award hosted by board member

Those shortlisted are with many examples not the best businesses in Guildford, not businesses would wish to showcase as an example of standards for others to strive to.

It is the norm with any award

– not associated with the award

– not promoting the award

If applied to these worthless Consumer Service Awards many would be automatically disqualified from the shortlist.

Big Business ‘bribed’ to secure a BID Yes Vote

August 23, 2022

This is corruption writ large.

Large corporate chains, to secure a YES Vote, get a substantial discount on the BID Levy they pay.

The same chains who quite likely are giving donations to the Tory Party.

Struggling local businesses are hit with a double whammy. Not only are they hit with a BID Levy, which they cannot afford, they are subsidising corporate chains, thus paying a higher levy than need be. But it’s even worse, had they not been offered a discount for a YES Vote, there would be No BID, no BID Levy.

It is not only chains, shopping centres too pay a reduced BID Levy.

Let’s take a look at Guildford.

The head of the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre sits on the board of Experience Guildford. Not only sits on the board, is the chair. What can be the contribution of a failing shopping centre? But then could ask the same of the chair of Bury St Edmunds BID, what has to offer with at least two failed businesses?

The rigged Experince Guildford Consumer Service Awards, at least two of the tenants of Tunsgate Quarter shortlisted.

White Lion Walk and The Friary Guildford, two more shopping centres, shortlisted for an award.

Guildford Institute, that happens to be a board member, shortlisted for an award.

The award ceremony to be held at Ivonne Arnaud Theatre. You’ve guessed it, another board member. And for good measure, also shortlisted for an award.

Last year the AGM held at Harbour Hotel. Surprise surprise, another board member.

This though is not the only way BID Ballots are rigged

Casting of multiple votes: Car parks, public toilets given a vote.

Gerrymandering: BID area redrawn to exclude those who may vote No.

Counting of Votes: Businesses not aware of a ballot, not receiving ballot papers, count held in secrecy behind closed doors.

Misuse of BID Levy: BID Levy used to secure a Yes Vote.

Guildford Christmas lights switch on

August 20, 2022

Guildford Borough Council has decided not to pay for a Christmas lights switch on. A sensible decision by the Council. Not a cost effective use of public money.

I once had the misfortune of being in Guildford during Christmas lights switch on, it was a nightmare.

An expensive crowd control nightmare, money wasted on a C-list celebrity.

One town asked a local homeless guy to switch on the lights. Lincoln asked two local veterans of WWII Bomber Command.

Once again, Amanda Masters CEO Experience Guildford shows she is clueless. And that she should be fired and Experience Guildford wound up.

Even though by her own admission she does not know what is going on, she is only too happy to squander money extorted from struggling local businesses that an analysis by the Council has shown not to be viable or good value for public money.

Showing contempt for local businesses. Is the BID Ballot rigged? If not, why offer financial support for an event late November when Experience Guildford may not exist beyond October?

Why does Guildford Borough Council require two seats on the board of the BID?

Neither Experience Guildford nor Amanda Masters speaks for or represents local businesses in Guildford.

Whether or not people visit Guildford and spend money, depends on whether they have money to spend and something to spend money on. It has nothing to do with the pointless activities of Experience Guildford.

The BID Levy is killing struggling local businesses. If wish to help them, wind up parasitical Experience Guildford.

Experience Guildford rigged Consumer Service Awards

August 10, 2022

A nice little shindig, pat each other on the back, hand out worthless Consumer Service Awards, all paid for by struggling local businesses through the BID Levy.

Rigged Customer Service Awards.

Stitch up.

No corporate chain should be shortlisted.

Waitrose and M&S obscene use of over-packaging and plastic packaging. The service in M&S Food Hall is appalling.

Pho, fake Vietnamese street food, service terrible, food terrible, short listed.

Pho is located opposite Ben’s Records, part of the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. Zero footfall. Only time see anyone when used as a shortcut during inclement weather. Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre sits on the board.

Ben’s Records promotes the Consumer Service Awards on behalf of Experience Guildford, shortlisted.

Ben’s Records does provide excellent service, but by promoting this award is pissing off other businesses who see Experience Guildford as a waste of money and wish to see wound up.

Bear Garden sits on the board, shortlisted.

I rarely see this shop in Jeffries Passage open I thought they had closed. They win the award every year bar one

In Jeffries Passage, excellent skateboard shop, excellent Korean Restaurant. A couple of streets down, another excellent Korean restaurant, with excellent service.

Loaf, not as the name would suggest a bakery, shortlisted. Loaf located in the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. Tunsgate Quarter sit on the board.

Award shindig to be hosted by Yvonne Arnaud, sit on the board.

It is the norm, a body granting the award, agency promoting the award, not eligible for the award.

There are many excellent local businesses in Guildford, all are struggling to pay the BID Levy. Thank them, give them a 5-star review on Google maps.

A worthless Consumer Service Award, is no guarantee of good service, especially when the award is rigged.

Let us look a little closer at a few of the other shortlisted entries.

Coffee shops: Fresco Deli Kafessen, Caffe Nero.

Fresco Deli Kafessen, not a coffee shop, serves disgusting catering supply coffee, outside sit Greek students smoking, an embarrassment for Greek food.

Caffe Nero, corporate chain serving disgusting undrinkable coffee.

Krema, excellent coffee and cakes, staff passionate about coffee, always friendly and helpful. Not shortlisted.

Takeaways: Meat the Greek, Taco Bell.

Meat the Greek, takeaway an embarrassment for Greek Food.

Taco Bell, a rubbish chain.

Two excellent Korean restaurants in Guildford also takeaway, Hanki and Atto, excellent food, excellent service, staff go out of their way to be helpful. Not shortlisted.

There is a pattern here. Experience Guildford Customer Service Awards doing a great disservice to the many excellent local businesses in Guildford. Maybe I will produce an Alternative Customer Service Awards. Nominations welcome in the comments.

We are in the midst of a Cost of Living Crisis, and it will get worse. People are cutting their spending to bare essentials. The BID Levy must end. There is a vote in October to determine if Experience Guildford may continue. Local businesses should follow the example of other BIDs, Vote No for Experience Guildford to continue extorting money from struggling local businesses.








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