With all of the vegan options coming hard and fast to Greggs, McDonald’s, KFC et al, spare a thought for the poor independent business. Evidence that life has become increasingly tough for these small high street businesses has been evident in Devon in February. In just one week four small cafes, much loved by the vegan community, have closed their doors for good.
The award-winning Kind Grind in Torquay recently closed its doors after two and a half years. It was the first cafe in Torquay to go fully vegan and brought the concept of an ethical vegan coffee shop to the Devon coastal town.
“Sadly the competition from our large corporate competitors has become too great so we have closed our doors for the last time,” said the company’s owner Steffi Rox on Instagram. “Thanks to everyone who has supported us, opening the first vegan coffee shop here in Torquay was scary but our customers mad it a joy,” she said.
Steffi experienced all those little challenges that small businesses face. The cafe was burgled, the boiler broke and the flat roof leaked and flooded the kitchen. The single mother who home schools her children remained positive, continuing to contribute to the local community. The cafe joined the global Suspended Coffee to the homeless movement whereby customers could buy an extra drink to go free to someone in need, such as a homeless person.
“It’s sad but we couldn’t compete,” said Steffi. “You can see [vegan] companies closing across the country now too. I know places in Brighton closing.
“We are losing out to the giants.”
Local businesses losing out to Food Giants
The closure came just two days after Exeter’s Rabbit Cafe closed. In addition, Terra Marique Vegan Restaurant in Torquay and the Vegan Bakery in Torbay have also ended their businesses.
With the national and multinational food companies eager to get a slice of the vegan pound and vegan food options now thankfully becoming ubiquitous on the High Street, spare a thought for the small independent vegan business. Generally motivated by a desire to spread compassion and a desire to spread the word on veganism, as well as a natural desire to make a living, these businesses are now up against the full might of the large chains.
So wonderful though it is to see Greggs offering vegan sausage rolls on every High Street, do spare a thought for businesses like the Kind Grind and the Rabbit Cafe, and consider giving their ilk your business. The need to support local vegan businesses is overwhelming.
The Rabbit Cafe had even made its way onto PETA’s list for best sweet vegan treats. Its owers urged people to support their local vegan businesses as competition from the established chains increases.
“Local vegan businesses need your loyalty now more than ever as they are at real risk of being swallowed up by the big guys,” said the Rabbit Cafe.