Brockley Business

Small businesses are vital to the health of any local economy. They bring jobs and spending power to the high-street.

Without them, our streets are deserts during the working week and our local shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants are forced to squeeze nearly all of their trade in during the evening rush hour and weekends.

Everyone acknowledges that there are too few small businesses in SE4 and that this is a major impediment to regeneration.

But Brockley Central is lucky to receive contributions from a number of local businesses and entrepreneurs, including Jam Circus, Moonbow Jake, Open Gym, Tea Leaf Arts, Locallife, The Shop on the Hill and Maradoll.

So this thread is for them and other local business people to use as they wish - to share ideas, ask for information and advice, publicise their services and test their ideas with the Brockley public. It was suggested by Jo Hill of Open Gym and a range of other posters have expressed an interest in a thread like this.

We hope it proves useful.

47 comments:

Hugh said...

Cafe Nero on Hilly Fields. When is it happening?

Headhunter said...

Cafe Nero? Why stop there? Let's have a Blue Water style shopping complex with underground parking, bowling and multiplex cinema.... That'll give the chavs something to reckon with

Hugh said...

What is snide about wanting a cafe in the park?

You got that satellite dish you wanted above your front door.

Anonymous said...

Broxo has quite enough cafes, thankyouverymuch

Moira said...

Those of you interested in getting a cafe on Hilly Fields might want to complete a questionaire Lewisham Council is doing -Natural England Questionnaire for Hilly Fields Park. Contact me and I'll send you one.
"Natural England are keen to get as much feedback as possible for the Angst Project running in Hilly Fields Park. Angst being Access to Natural Green Space Standards."

Anonymous said...

Angst. now *that* is too good to be true.

Anonymous said...

Definitely one of those cases where they came up with the initialism then found words to fit it...

Richard said...

I'll attempt to put this thread to use; any local business will say honest local feedback is invaluable, but it's not always easy to find.

Can I ask those who have been to Jam Circus for their thoughts on what we do? Also, when did you last visit?

Those who haven't been in, can I ask why? My hunch is many living near Brockley Station see us as Crofton Park rather than Brockley.

Since beginning management of JC I have tried to emphasise & capitalise on local involvement. We were heavily involved in Brockley Max, buy our meat from Peter James, have worked on a pilot interactive project with Tea Leaf Arts, etc.

Thank you for this thread, any comments hugely welcome!

The Cat Man said...

Richard, you are indeed right. I live close to Brockley station and feel the JC is a little out of Brockley. This may well be incorrect, but the perception in my mind exists!

I've been passed your premises a few times now, it always looks impressive. Any chance you move closer to Brockley station and capitalise on the ELL? - Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Conversely, I live closer to the hilly field end of town and I find where catman lives to be a little outside of Brox.

Londoners - a quarter mile or so does not mean you're in the next town!

Tom said...

Richard - it's purely distance for me. I live a mile (I've just checked the distance on google maps!) from your pub. I do walk the 0.7 miles to the Royal Albert in New Cross though, so maybe I'll try to make that extra 0.3 miles.

There are, however, *lots* of people that live in and around Crofton Park/South Brockley, so for them you must be the nearest 'good' local.

Talking of which, I was in my local, the Wickham Arms last night and came in to hear part of the quiz. Seems rather tough!

brockley mutha said...

Hi Richard.

I don't live far from Jam Circus. And without wishing to revive the same old debate, I would say Crofton Park is Brockley. I haven't yet made use of Jam Circus. Husband and I popped in one evening (pre smoking ban) and it was very busy and v v smokey (which he hates). That was obviously ages ago and we haven't had the opportunity to make another attempt, but we do plan to. For us the idea of going out in Brockley is still somewhat novel. We've become so used to heading into town whenever we want to go out that we're now struggling to break the habit of the last 9 years.

PS - is Jam circus child friendly

Anonymous said...

I live near Brockley station and don't go to Jam Circus often because of the distance. As I write this I know it sounds ridiculous - it's a ten minute walk! I have been once and found it to be rather nice- having a coffee on the comfy chairs. I'll try to make more of an effort in future.

Headhunter said...

Londoners do over-estimate distances don't they? At work near Chancery Lane Tube, I jog to my gym in Covent Garden at lunch time which my colleagues seem to find horrifyingly far away, yet it's less than a mile. When I tell people I live in Brockley, people who don't know it usually think it's many miles from central London, and they're surprised when I tell them it's just 6 miles from Chancery Lane.

I must admit though, Jam Circus is a bit of a trek from Manor Avenue, but I have been many times and on a nice evening it can be a fairly pleasant walk. I admire the way Richard has tried to integrate the bar into the local community, using the local butcher etc. I'll continue to head over when I need a drink.

Never actually had food there though, I usually eat at home. I sometimes head to the Amersham Arms for Sun lunch though at a fiver for a huge plateful, it's great value and very tasty. They also use local butchers (Wellbeloved in Deptford)

Tyrwhitt Dean said...

I've been in our part of SE London long enough to understand that you cherish those places that are good. I don't care where JC is as long as its there because I think its absolutely fantastic. I had dinner there a couple of weeks ago with friends and was massively impressed by the place. True, a lot of it is down to personal preference but I loved the decor and the relaxed feel of the place. I would personally be happy to pay more for really good cooking and ingredients (from memory the chips seemed frozen and the burger bun was so-so) but I still thought I got excellent value for the price and we all thoroughly enjoyed our dinner. The service was relaxed and friendly and (crucially) just the right side of competent.

We may have been lucky but the place certainly chimed with what I like in a pub, a pleasant but "arty" feel, not too busy, no intrusive music and simple tasty food. On another night it might be packed with "Male Vertical Volume Drinkers" and thumping house music which would turn me right off but based on my experience I thought the JC formula is just right.

Anonymous said...

Please think of the patrons, not just the proprieter, when considering bringing your kids into an adults boozer and restaurant!

The sight and sounds of your little Tarquins and Henriettas screaming around drives business away no end.

Tressillian James said...

I went to JC perhaps over a year ago for a morning coffee - at that time there was no food being served - so no toast - and I must say I havent been back, instead going to Toads Mouth. I was also under the impression that it was a drinker's place - and now I know it does evening meals I think I'll try it out.

I'm not so child unfriendly as the previous blogger - it's all about responsibility - as long as parents take note of their kids and don't see the venue as a free babysitter, there's not an issue.

tyrwhitt michael said...

Tom

If you think last night's Wickham Quiz was hard, wait until next week.

I'm setting it!


So should be dead easy then......

drakefell debaser said...

Jam Circus is the other end of Brockley for me too however I think it’s worth the walk, its great for a night out with mates or just a few quite Sunday afternoon drinks. I am not a regular as per se but I have been there a couple of times over the past year and the last two weekends whilst the festival has been on, I certainly intend to go there more often as a result of my last visits. The live music events are a fantastic opportunity to see new talent and what would help me is being able to know what events are going on. As there is no website for Jam Circus that I can find can this blog be used to post the upcoming events? This should stir up more interest and boost business. Maybe the blog could have a section where supported businesses can update us on new events, the delis can update us on any new produce they have etc etc?

Anonymous said...

Jam circus have a site but they need to fix it - half the links don't go anywhere!

http://www.antic-ltd.com/jamcircus/

Anonymous said...

The Open Gym is too expensive, ten quid a pop? This is Brockley not Knightsbridge luv!

Paddyom said...

I agree about not knowing whats taking place in JC from one weekend to the next as I dont usually pick up fliers when i am out and about. I prefer to use the web.

If there are things taking place in JC (similar to last weekend) then I will try and frequent it more often as i really like the place. The Sunday roasts are lovely as well by the way.

In relation to its location i always found the Crofton Park end of Brockley to have more of a heart to it and be the best 'high street' in SE4. So i dont mind walking down from where i live closer to Brockley station to use things like Barclays, the revamped Co Op, babur takeaway and Jam Circus in the slightest. The Brockley station end has lots of nice coffee shop type places whereas Crofton has more businesses i would use on a daily basis.

Richard, forgive me if you have done this already, but any chance Jam Circus could carve a mini beer garden to the rear of the property? I find the one's at Moonbows and Mr Lawrence to be slightly grim and reckon the area could do with a bar with a nice outside. I understand that this may be logistically impossible however.

Also, does JC stay open to 2am every weekend or was last weekend specially for the BMAX?

lb said...

Someone ought to get the Brockley Foxes to review Jam Circus: is the food "quite good" or "tasty but with small portions"? The public should be told; I wait with bated breath.

As for events listings, perhaps there should be a separate 'what's on' section on this site - not separate posts or anything, just a list.

Pete said...

I live in Ladywell and have been to Jam Circus quite a few times in the past 6 months or so. I have enjoyed the food which is good value and the ambience is nice too.

Mezzer said...

When JC arrived it was like a light had been switched on in Brockley and I stil greatly appreciate it.

My only real critisism is that Belle and Sebastian seem to be playing every time I go!

lb said...

"When JC arrived it was like a light had been switched on in Brockley"

Never realised the Second Coming had taken place in South-east London.

Mezzer said...

I wouldn't consider the first coming to be akin to any kind of light being switched on....

Anonymous said...

He did a great job of switching on the christmas lights above Morley's

Richard said...

Catman, Tom, etc – distance. It has been said before, and I agree, the cemetery creates a divide between Crofton Park & the rest of Brockley. We’re not that far!

Brockleymutha – yes we used to be very smoky as the front door led straight into the smoking area. Crofton Park is definitely part of Brockley (we’re SE4), but it doesn’t always feel that way; I think some work is needed on uniting Brockley Road. We’re very child friendly and most little ones are impeccably behaved. As for heading to town - *if* we are to see an economic slowdown we would hope people would head to their reliable local (whether it be for an ale or a cocktail) more often, rather than splashing out going central.

Tyrwhitt Dean, I’m pleased you liked JC and our food, the service is something I have been working hard on since February (not that it was terrible under previous management). Don’t fret, we never have pumping house music!

Tresillian James, I’m not sure when you visited or why food wasn’t being served (under previous management there was a long time spent searching for a reliable second chef), but we serve lunch from 12-3 every day now (including scrambled eggs on toast!) as well as our evening & weekend menus.

The website has been running for a while but is being (slowly) updated after I asked for pages linking to local websites (such as BC) & reviews. The calendar will be better updated in the future – the previous version was awful. I’ve always tried to have live music, but it can be costly and not everybody popping in for a pint wants to be talking over guitars & drums. We have a jam night 1st Sunday of each month, and we also plan weekly live jazz on all other Sundays. Otherwise we will look to have more ad hoc events similar to Saturday’s – perhaps the next will be August bank holiday weekend. A section on this site for local businesses to update readers on events, changes, etc would be fantastic.

Paddyom, I’m afraid the beer garden is a non-starter, but we can at least open all the front windows whenever the weather permits. We open until 1 on Fri/Sat & 12 other nights, BMax on Saturday needed a temporary event extension.

Wow, sorry to waffle on, but the feedback is very much appreciated. PS We maybe do like Belle & Sebastian a bit too much!

Tyrwhitt Dean said...

Richard,

My previous comment may have been a little tounge-in-cheek. I thought the service was one of the best aspects of our visit, it was very friendly and perfectly competent. I was trying to imply that it had a certain individual quality that is refreshing in comparison with the sometimes harrassed and deliberately calibrated "customer service experience" that you often get.

Richard said...

Sorry Dean, I didn't mean to sound defensive, I hadn't taken your post as a complaint, but I took the chance to make a point about service in any case.

Sian said...

Richard,

I haven't been to JC yet but it's now on my list of local locales to try asap. And there's nothing wrong with liking Belle and Sebastian!!

I am in the process of launching Locallife, a website for Lewisham business and community. If you have a particular event you want to advertise, just email me the details at sian.mclean@locallife.co.uk and I'll stick it on the locaal events page.

mljay said...

I like JC - it is an oasis in the area. Really easy going, welcoming to all. Had some very good cheesecake in there the other week.

Sorry for all you Brockleyites who live to far away, but I for one am glad that it is in Crofton Park because that means it is near to me (I am practically in Honor oak park)!

mljay said...

11 June 2008 12:57 Anonymous said...
"The Open Gym is too expensive, ten quid a pop? "

I have to agree. Husband and I were going to give it a go, but at £10 a head (or £7.50 if you book 4 sessions), this seems steep.

Has anyone been? Any comments?

Lil said...

I too was put off by the price. And by the fact that its a rain-or-shine arrangement: even if I could consider paying a tenner to run around a (free) park for an hour, I wouldn't do so in the rain.

Richard said...

Sian, thank you, that could be useful in the future

ade said...

i love jc in the day when i am working from home - easier for me to work on the tables there than TM2 which is closer to be (dark side of Brockley inhabitant that I am!) I think your prices and realistic and the service is friendly without being in your face or distant - never been in the evening tho - never seen anything i would like to come to yet...

Amanda said...

The most active 'small business' around here is effectively property. Look at the ex shops on
Upper brockley road, and any half used pub has the property investors circling. I walked past a beautiful looking pub today on Friendly Street if I remember correctly The Crown and Anchor, it had a yellow proposed notice to turn it into 4, 2 bed room flats. Property provides such high and fast returns that retail or other small business had trouble competing.

I don't think the rumoured pending recession is going to dampen that.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I moved to the area a couple of weeks ago and live near brockley station, my husband and I have been to the jam circus a couple of times already and enjoyed it - a nice atmosphere, friendly service and we found the food fine and enjoyed the cocktails - yes it is a bit of a walk but on a nice summer evening it's not a problem - would be great if something similar opened nearer our end of town though!

Tressillian James said...

Ecosium take note...

patrick1971 said...

Jam Circus is really nice and I've been there a few times and always enjoyed it.

I officially moved into Brockley three days ago and, whilst I'm waiting for my new cooker, took the chance to check out the revamped Brockley Jack. It's certainly going to give Jam Circus a run for its money, I feel. Really well done up, superb food at reasonable prices. And there's even a non-smoking beer garden (the smoking area is on the other side of the pub). I'll certainly be going there again.

Looks like the Crofton Park end of SE4 is the place to be... :-)

Richard said...

Sorry to re-open this thread, but I'd like to invite anybody who so wishes to join our mailing list.

You can do so by contacting me at jamcircus[at sign]antic-ltd.com, visiting our website or simply leaving your address on this page.

I ask as I'll be sending out an offer to try our cocktails for less than usual. We're also in the process of organising a late summer event intended to show Brockley how Jam Circus has changed over the past 18 (and particularly 6) months.

More details to follow via the mailing list

Brockley Nick said...

@Richard - no need to apologise, these threads are meant to be used whenever necessary.

Richard said...

Nick, sorry if you're snowed under, but did you get my emails I sent in response to yours?

Richard said...

Our 3rd birthday party is this Saturday (4th October) and we would like to invite all BC readers to join us in our celebrations.

There will live music from Lyre Bird Song (www.myspace.com/lyrebirdsong) and a DJ (www.saffrolla.com) until 2am, as well as free food & cocktail samples & circus face painting.

We offer a free pint or small wine as incentive for arriving in costume (ideally circus-themed!). Jam Circus staff will be circus-dressed!

Entry is free and the evening promises to be fantastic fun. I'd especially like to encourage Jam Circus virgins to come down and see what we about.

More info on the blog.

patrick1971 said...

I'm out for dinner this Saturday or I'd definitely come along. Well done for going for three years! Hope it's a good night.

Richard said...

Patrick, shame you can't join us. It's been 3 years for the pub (still a baby), but only 2 for me, of which a mere 7 months has been managing JC. Yet so much has changed, it's strange to think of the pub as it was 2 years ago, let alone 3!

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