Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No more 99's

It's sad to see a local business go, especially one that holds so many good memories for me, but to stoop to the conceit that the smoking ban 'forced' Minchella's to sell up the business at the Nook is just pathetic.

The truth is that Minchella's at the Nook has for a long time deteriorated and had begun to look tired and need of a good makeover. Also, despite the great ice cream, milk shakes and (adequate) coffee, the range of food was boring. Cheese toasties are hardly inspiring, especially considering when successful places like Cafe Nero can serve a range of delicious food along with excellent coffee - all without whingeing about the smoking ban.

Trevor Minchella said, "The smoking ban killed off this cafe." He's wrong. Apathy killed off the cafe. Of course some smokers stopped going into Minchella's, but he failed to bring in new custom, which he acknowledged when he said, "most of my customers were from a generation who frowned at the thought of having to stand outside in the street just to smoke".

The cafe has an air of neglect, most of the time has only a skeleton staff and has also become frequented by some with a vocabulary you don't want your children to hear.

To claim that the smoking ban was responsible for the business failure is disingenuous and just provides ammunition to pro smoking lobby group FOREST.

Without the secret Minchella ice cream formula I think it's unlikely that it can carry on as an ice cream parlour.

But I do hope that some enterprising soul can take the business on and make a success of it as the Nook needs a good coffee shop, although at £325,000 it's likely to be bought by a local property developer and split up.


Curly said...

I concur.

Michael said...

I agree. You just need to look at the kind of places that are suffering as a result of the smoking ban: scruffy, dated, old-fashioned and stuck in their ways.

T.Minchella said...

There has been a lot of rubbish written about the closure of Minchella's ice cream parlour at the Nook. Trevor Minchella never actually said that the smoking ban closed his business, he only said that trade was down after the smoking ban was introduced. And to quote an impartial view of Minchella's at the Nook.
"While we're in the Cleadon park area it's always fun to make pleasing new discoveries about the town where you live and I have to say that one of mine recently was Minchella's ice cream parlour on Prince Edward road. It was a roasting day and me and the lad called in for cooling pop and ice cream and a cola with chocolate cake.
Wow! It was like stepping back 40 years, the ribbed padded leather seats, the wood clad walls, the black and orange geometric tiling.
Don't get me wrong, I loved it. A little treasure and of course great ice cream."

Janice Blower writing in the Shields Gazzette

As for the comments about the coffee, Minchella's used freshly ground, imported, high quality coffee beans from Luca in Italy. The customers were given the choice of strong, weak or regular strength coffee. Milky and/or frothy coffee. This was available for the price of 90p. Giving such a good service as many of Minchella's regular customers appreciated at approximately half the price of National firms.
To upgrade the property to a modern style cafe would have required modern style cafe prices.
The motto was "Cleanliness and friendliness". All customers appreciated this. Smokers and non-smokers alike.
We have been very proud to serve the people of the Nook over the years and the majority of people were sorry to see Minchella's close.
Finally, a thank you to all of our customers.

Trevor Minchella