Not so merry Christmas: Mr Lawrence shop to close

Confirmation of the news, reported in a comment on last week's Catford Bridge Tavern post, that a Brockley institution – Mr Lawrence's shop – is to close at the end of the year.

The decision has been prompted by a number of factors. A major issue has been the reduction in parking immediately outside the shop because of a relocated bus stop. This, in turn, has caused problems receiving deliveries (vans are regularly ticketed and some suppliers are now refusing to deliver at all) and has hampered passing trade. It has also proved hard to recruit staff willing to put in the long hours and to commit to the business in the long term.

The good news is that the wine bar is staying and booze sales will continue online. It sounds like it will be possible to avoid delivery charges by picking up online orders in the bar, where there will also a modest list available at off-sale prices. So we're not losing the shop altogether.

No word yet on who is taking over the store premises. There is a very interested tenant lined up (all Brockley Central was able to glean was that "it's not a chicken shop") but the deal is not yet signed.

For all that there will be a new business coming to Brockley Road – and we're not losing an old favourite altogether – it will be a sad day for Brockley when the shutters finally come down at Mr Lawrence on New Year's Eve.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

A chicken shop would work quite nicely in that locale- you have to schlep to Ladywell or Lions for a decent meal if coming from that direction.

Anonymous said...

A very very big loss for Brockley. I hope the very interested party is hoping to take over the shop as an off-license in a very similar vain to Mr Lawrence. Can't see that space easily working as much else without a huge amount of work (which would suggest you'd just go to one of the other empty units)?

Si said...

This is terrible news, the slow death of the high street continues apace. I guess the future of London will be dormitories, dominated by chains and empty shops.

Fattyfattybumbum said...

What a shame. Best of luck to them.

Molewife said...

Gutted gutted gutted. I love Mr Lawrence. It will be a real loss to the area. I'm glad that the bar is still staying open at least.

Deep fried Brockley said...

Anon 1107, no you don't, there's one next to the Babur takeaway in one direction in Crofton Park and there's one next to Jam Circus in the other.
Not tried the first but top fillet burger in the latter.

Anonymous said...

Opportunity for another coffee shop? There's definitely a glut in the area.....

Brockley Ben said...

I should add that you can expect to see a Mr Lawrence presence at various markets too. Sounds like they'll be actively seeking such opportunities.

david said...

With some slight exaggeration, I'm devastated. Mr L's bar remains my favourite local night out so I'm pleased to see if staying open, but all my favourite nights in start with a quick visit to the shop for wine or beer. A real loss to the area as it offers not only something unique to Brockley but in offering high quality, reasonably priced unusual exciting wines a rarity anywhere.

kubrock said...

I have spent many hours and pounds at Mr Lawrence. I just wonder if more people shopped at this Brockley institution more than once a year we would not be seeing it close. Long live Mr L's wine bar!

Anonymous said...

Gutted. I'd love to hear what Lewisham Council have to say about the siting of the bus stop; I remember Mr L complaining about it over the summer, didn't realise it was so bad that he was considering closing though :-(

Anonymous said...

This is a major set-back to the Crofton Park parade. Also strange considering the shop always seems to be doing well whenever I visit(which is quite often).

Ever the optimist, I hope they have an 'everything must go sale'!!

Brockley Ben said...

@anon 1244 I don't know the ins and outs of this but according to my discussion in the shop yesterday, the council is being a lot more sympathetic to Tesco's request to relocate bus-stops near their mooted new store further down Brockley Road. Mr Lawrence, as you say, has been very frustrated that his own requests have fallen on deaf ears.

Anonymous said...

I can see a pocket-size Tesco metro fitting in there quite nicely - but if Lou disagrees i'm happy to support him

Darylh said...

Oh No. Mr L is the best place to buy booze. They are very active in supporting local brewers and distillers. I will miss them. All the best for the future.

Gussy said...

This is terrible news. Surely something can be done? There must be other examples in the capital where bus stops have been a problem, but it's been overcome? To close a business because of a bus stop - surely this is not in anyone's interest. Also staffing, there must be people out there willing to work there - I'd even consider it myself! Can't we do something as a community to help rather than let it close?

Crofton Park Ranger said...

What rubbish news.

If I am honest, though I love the Mr Lawrence selection and recommendations, I often bought my wine from Co-op purely for throw it in the basket convenience (I know, how lazy).

Now I just feel guilty and sad. So easy to take places like this for granted.

But life goes on I suppose and its good to hear there is interest from a potential new tenant - we really need a 'guess the next tenant thread'.
I think Tesco are still hoping to take the (possibly) soon to be developed (if it passes planning) place over from Budgens so I'd count them out (its too small anyway). I remember hearing about a baker looking for a space but their supply van might have same issues and there is a very limited lunch trade. Domino's might see it as an alternative to the Old Bank at Honor Oak Park.
Finally, whilst there are plenty of places for coffee nearby, none of them are open during early commuter hours so who knows eh...

Wild Bill said...

Is the very interested tenant the current proprietor of Dukes? The pre-installed bars would be a boon surely?

Anonymous said...

What a shame. Wonderful shop and staff.

alexanderlaim said...

Such sad news.

The selection of ales is second to none and they stock some lovely Argentinian Malbec's.

But if it's going online I look forward to buying from there instead, and my children will thank me for not leaving them on the otherside of the gate whilst I browse.

Vive La Wine Shop.. or something.

Marlo Stansfield said...

Irrespective of any tedious class warfare, I cannot see how this is anything but a massive disappointment for anyone in Brockley/ Crofton Park/ South East London.

When a good, independent, local business is forced to close, it can only detract from the area - it not only reduces retail options for residents, but sends a message to other prospective businesses that it is simply not a viable place for business, and we will find ourselves a high street resplendent with Ladbrokes, Tesco Metrii and other soul-sappingly shit frontages that add nothing to the area beyond traffic and litter.

This has nothing to do with gentrification. Mr Lawrence has been here for ages, and like Peter James round the corner, is used by all kinds of people.

It is a genuine loss. I am quite upset, and not just because having read this back I realise I sound exactly like my Dad.

M said...

It is a huge loss to the area but at least the bar will still be there. I hope they do start trading at Brockley and Catford Markets as well as online.

Brockley Nick said...

@Marlo (and Si):

"When a good, independent, local business is forced to close, it can only detract from the area"

Agreed, unless of course, the replacement is equally good or better. Worth reiterating that Mr Lawrence is not closing. It's only the shop bit that is, lest anyone be confused.

"sends a message to other prospective businesses that it is simply not a viable place for business,"

I think this is an exaggeration. The business has been there for many years. Every high street has businesses that come and go. Any prospective business is just as likely to look at the range of independent businesses that have opened in recent months, including The White Room, Patacakes and Arlo and Moe.

"and we will find ourselves a high street resplendent with Ladbrokes, Tesco Metrii and other soul-sappingly shit frontages that add nothing to the area beyond traffic and litter."

The trend has been the other way. Look at the number of good new independent businesses that have opened this year and in the years before.

LMK said...

Oh No!!! While it is SOME consolation that the bar is staying, it's the shop that we use the most. Like David said, all our nights start with a visit to the shop. My Christmas always starts with a visit to the shop... I'm gutted.

Anonymous said...

noooooooo
I just read how some locals bought into a shop that was closing so they could keep it running

Alex Morrison Wyant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Timothy Spaal II said...

I don't think I'm really that surprised to see any section of Mr. Lawrence closing.

I personally paid my last visit to the shop after the woman behind the counter verbally harassed my friend for having another bottle of wine in his tote bag.

I can completely understand a local business being upset with someone for purchasing wine from another place and then bringing it into the shop, but we weren't from close by and had stopped at Mr. Lawrence on our way to a friend's house. More importantly, we were right in the middle of purchasing 2 bottles of wine when she started belittling us.

She was literally annotating her points about people like us ruining local businesses, with the debit card we'd just used to purchase items from a local business.


Amy Ip said...

I had a similar experience with the woman behind the counter there as well.

She was very rude to me and accused me of ruining her business by even looking at other shops.

I had literally just popped in there to find something I knew that a supermarket wouldn't have and she said that it was a shame that I didn't buy the well known brands from her as well. And she then went on to tell me that supermarkets don't sell real wine anyway, even if it's the same label as the one they stock. Rather confused by this one!

She then banged on about how I was deluded to have an allotment on One Tree Hill due to all the pollution and that what I was doing was futile.

What was supposed to be a pleasant few minutes trying to find something I wanted turned into a fifteen minute tirade at me and the world.

Funnily enough, that was the last time I went in there again.

AliP said...

Nooooooooo! That's all I can articulate at this news right now.

Except - where oh where are we to get our Lebanese wine now??

Leb Anon. said...

'Spect they'll keep Chateau Muzar as an internet sale. It is a bit of a speciality of the house.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm sure the sterile environment of a sainsburys check-out is more to your taste than a real person engaging with you and expressing views on the world - keep yourself wrapped up against real life!

Anonymous said...

I guess when a business is failing, the first thing to go is customer service.

It must be a very dispiriting experience for all concerned.

Hopefully something better will rise from the ashes.

Anonymous said...

Sainsbury's keep there wine good and honest.

Ben H said...

J R Sainsbury doesn't judge you although his selection is poor.

It's a shame because now I'm old I enjoy exotic lagers, ales and wines to go with my honest fare.

david said...

Not sure how the anecdote at 0948 equates to “pressure of finance” and “more than just a bus stop”. Bad customer service, yes, but not the foundations for anything else.

I've got say that whilst the incidents above are a poor way to treat customers, I've never experienced anything other than friendly service with helpful knowledge about wine from Mr L, Mrs L or the lady who is often in the shop.

If you're looking for more depth than delivery problems - which isn't unreasonable - then I'd think that the point in Nick's original post about the difficulty in recruiting long term staff members for the future of the business with knowledge and dedication is more telling than any guesses at the levels of turn-over and what they may or may not be influenced by.

Anonymous said...

"Sainsbury's keep there wine good and honest."
Is Mr.Lawrence somehow 'dishonest' then? You really are a fool.

Anonymous said...

Oh heck. I've only just found out about this, I'm devastated! Mr Lawrence is my go-to offy for... well, just about everything but especially quality organic wines and beers! I might need to move!! It's the end of Brockley as we know it!! I'm down there tomorrow to find out how much of the existing stock is going to be sold online... This is just awful news.

Latest Tweets

Brockley Central Label Cloud

Click one of the labels below to see all posts on that subject. The bigger the label, the more posts there are!