I wrote the other day (Why are M&S leaving Balham?) about why Balham should be on the up. In one of those unfortunate ironies at least one business agrees Balham is a place to be.
The lease on the old Woolworths has been bought by a company called 99p Stores Ltd. who will be opening this Thursday. While there is part of me that is pleased that that a retailer has the confidence to move in and create jobs, I cannot deny a much bigger part of me would have preferred a more prestigious name.
Unfortunately, it is a side effect of recession that this type of store flourishes as people cut costs. The company’s website even boasts about it in a job advert, “in the current economic downturn we are enjoying unrivalled growth and success.”
And even more unfortunately, even though the recession will pass (and even someone as bearish as me knows that) these shops will tend to remain. 99p Stores have bought a long lease on the site so they, presumably, are planning on staying put.
The council, particularly through the Economic Development Officer and Town Centre Manager do a lot of work to sell our town centres – not, I hasten to add, to recession stores – and promote investment in them but it is a hard slog and sometimes things aren’t going to develop how we would like.