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.
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