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David and Goliath

Blackheath Village Deli and Starbucks

How is it that a tiny delicatessen in Blackheath right next to Starbucks doesn’t go out of business?

I thought I’d do a comparison of the two. I’d been into the Village Deli a few times. It is nice enough, but feels more like a cafe than a delicatessen. It’s nothing like Starbucks. You pay afterwards, which always feels nicer, and there are plenty of tables outside to watch the world go by.

Blackheath Village Deli Coffee

It’s not perfect though -the tables were slightly sticky, and could have done with a good wipe. A small latte was good, and cost £2.

Now, Starbucks…. You, being nice Blackheath people, know how Starbucks is, so I’m not going to describe the usual things.

Blackheath Starbucks Empty

What is odd is that from the outside you cannot see how few places there are to sit down. It is as though they have decided that they have no interest in serving customers inside. It really might as well be a booth with a dispensing flap at the front. Inside, it is like a morgue most of the time. The staff (baristas – God, what a strange word to choose), were unfaultable, but really it felt so empty.

Starbucks CoffeeThe coffee was £2.05. Not sure what you get for your extra 5p- maybe a bit more cow juice. And Nora Jones on the stereo.

I can’t help thinking that if it weren’t for the Village Deli’s location, it would have been annihilated by the Starbucks juggernaut. Not because Starbucks is better (it isn’t), but because the station is such a hub of activity in Blackheath, everyone seems to radiate towards it in the mornings and away at night, and the Deli is the first coffee shop that is visible from outside.

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