A message from Mr Lawrence

Following Brockley Ben's report earlier in the week, the Mr Lawrence team has provided the following statement:

The decision to close Mr Lawrence Wine Merchant involves several factors.  Please note the Wine Bar is not closing.

We have been unable to resolve the issue regarding parking in Crofton Park.  The limits which allow for about 8 spaces to serve all of the shops make it very difficult to move goods in and out of the premises.  Lack of parking may also be a contributory factor to people’s propensity to purchase everyday wines from a supermarket with the perception that it is more convenient.

Despite our extremely loyal and supportive customers we have not been able to build the business sufficiently over the years to enable us to take on the staff required that would allow us to take life slightly easier.  The decision to close was not taken lightly.

We are opening a shop on-line which we hope will be operational within the next few days.  Initially our site will have a limited range of wines but this will gradually increase.  Customers will be able to collect their on-line purchases from the Wine Bar, with no delivery costs, however we will also offer a normal on-line delivery service.  Off-sales are, and will continue to be, available in the Wine Bar at shop prices.

Our last day will be 31st December but we are continuing to take delivery of wines and beers so we still have plenty of stock for your Christmas requirements.

We already have possible new tenants for the premises.

A heartfelt thank you to all those who have supported us.

19 comments:

Lucy said...

This is very sad news.

However I just don't get the idea that one reason for the shop struggling is that there isn't enough car parking. As a small independent shop surrounded by high residential areas, surely the majority of customers should be either walking, cycling, or public transport users?

People who shop at the supermarket (due to perceived convenience and cheaper prices) aren't suddenly going to start driving to one particular off-license because more parking has been made available.

It would be good if more local people realised what a great thing it is to have independent specialist shops on their doorstep. If I lived in proximity the the shop (I'm the other side of Hilly Fields) I certainly would have shopped there regularly.

James said...

I only started going about 3 months ago, after moving to the area 10 months ago. Really impressed by the shop, and you can get a good bottle for only a quid more than a cheap supermarket bottle.

Ended up taking my parents on a trip down from the north and they were very impressed. Such a shame they are closing up, it's a real shame. Online is ok when you know what you want but it's going to be no good when you go last minute for some food and need to pick up a bottle. Budgens is going to have to pick up the slack.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure they said that suppliers were refusing to deliver because they were getting parking tickets. And if I'm driving past , I am much more likely to stop and pick something up if there is parking rather than risk a 60 quid fine

david said...

Parking is an issue especially if you're picking up more than a single bottle. If I'm buying three or four in one go or a dozen beers I'm going in the car from Tyrwhitt Road. It's bigger orders and for a wider community than the immediate surrounding streets that help specialist businesses like this thrive.

Still gutted by the news...

Lucy said...

re david and anon...

Totally understand the delivery issues with limited space for vans dropping off stock and carrying boxes home isn't convenient. Local drop off by cargo bike or a weekly van round would be great.

anna said...

gutted :(

Anonymous said...

Why are the online prices going to be the same as the in store prices when the no longer have the same operating overheads (rent, extended storage etc)??

Anonymous said...

They will still have storage costs and different overheads... Also why is Tesco online no cheaper than the supermarkets?

Anonymous said...

Nope. Tesco have fixed costs because they are not reducing their estate by 50%, therefore price stays the same. Delivery to door same as delivery to store (rhymes!).

Aside from delivery costs potentially going up slightly through lost economies of scale, MR L has reduced operating costs massively. This means profit per bottle sold increases massively in % terms. Be nice if they passed some of that on to 'loyal local support'.

Anonymous said...

Anon - but at the moment they keep most of their stock in the shop, they'll now have to store somewhere else. Plus now the customer picks things off the shelf and carries it out, now they'll have to find the stock, wrap it and sort out delivery.
Plus the cost of the website, extra marketing costs etc etc.

Lucy - wine shops are pretty rare though, so have a larger catchment area. For example I live on the other side of Telegraph Hill and wouldn't go to Crofton Park to buy food because there are nearer shops. But ML was the closest place to pick up good belgian beer, so I would sometimes make the effort to go over. But I'm not going to schlep back with heavy bags of beer bottles, so I drove. I never managed to park out front, so tended to park in a side street. Which is where I had my rear window smashed...

Anonymous said...

I rarely shop there anymore because of the parking issue. I live just over a mile away and like to get a nice bottle of wine on my way home from work in the car. I'm not going to park at home and walk a mile to the shop and a mile back when I v'e been at work all day and I'm tired. Would use all the local Crofton Park shops on almost a daily basis if I could park easily on my way home.

Anonymous said...

i have never had a problem parking and shopping in crofton park. there is plenty of short stop parking spaces on both sides of the main road and 4 side streets. I dont really think there is a problem

oryx said...

I'm so disappointed that this shop is closing. We had got into using it regularly to buy drinks - both wine and beer. It was the best off license I've ever come across.

david said...

Anon@2133, I've got to agree. The problem of a delivery van needing to park right outside is different to a customer parking in the vicinity. I'd guess that over 50% of the times I go to Crofton Park in the car I can park outside the shops on the main road. Most other time there's a place on the train track side of Marnock Road and sometimes I have to resort to Eddystone or similar. I've a dim memorary of it being a real pain, once, years ago, but to say people can "never" park is silly.

However, what's interesting is the perception that it's difficult putting people off. As we've said, a great specialist shop like this should be attractibg custom from the wider area (if not SE London as a whole) and if you don't know where else it's feasible to park upon driving past occupied spaces you might be inclined to just go home.

Unknown said...

@David,
Also interesting is that Green and Blue in East Dulwich is also closing, another very good local independent wine shop.

oryx said...

Green and Blue sounds lovely - haven't been there because we're not in East Dulwich and we've got Mr Lawrence nearby.

For some reason, I thought they'd really expanded and had an operation (wine bar, shop or both) in Clapham North but I may be thinking of someone else.

I've said this before, but independent traders are one of the best things about this area and it really is a case of 'use it or lose it'.

The forthcoming Sainsbury's Local in HOP and the possibility of a Tesco Metro opposite the Brockley Jack are not going to help this situation. :-(

Anonymous said...

Parking is an issue. I used to live a few miles away and would purposefully travel to this off license due to the sheer variety. I could pull up outside no bother. Now its a major issue. I was buying beer to go down to a festival and decided to stock up. I had to drive around the block 5 times to get anywhere near. This is a factor for the shop closing but its not the only one. People buying cheaper wine from supermarkets is apparently a big one. You could look no further than the co-op on the corner in this regard. Cheap wine maybe, but dreadful service and not that tasty.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised this shop has shut. I visited a few months ago and it seemed in disarray, with dust-covered boxes all over the floor. Customer service was also somewhat lacking - we were treated to a monologue on the evils of supermarkets.

We did buy some ales, however on returning home it was evident they had been poorly stored and two of them were off. I like to support small businesses, and often shop in independent retailers, but this is an example of a business not giving as good an offer as local supermarkets. I don't think car parking (or lack of) is a significant factor here.

Anonymous said...

Agreed- some of those dusty boxes have been there since we moved here nearly a decade ago. Poor selection of chilled whites, staff have never come across as particularly knowledgable, limited tasting opportunities, grubby shelves and displays, these were all opportunities missed irrespective of pursuing the bus stop / parking issues with the Council.

Please support BC by clicking here when you shop with Amazon

Brockley Central Label Cloud