‘It’s impossible’ - owner of popular Bristol cafe explains why she’s closing the doors this weekend

Rising costs and staff shortages are only a part of the problem
Emmeline on Stokes Croft will close its doors this weekendEmmeline on Stokes Croft will close its doors this weekend
Emmeline on Stokes Croft will close its doors this weekend

A popular Bristol cafe will close its doors tomorrow (Saturday September 9), with the owner citing rising costs and staffing shortages as part of a wider problem for small businesses after the pandemic.

Emmeline is on the ground floor of Hamilton House in Stokes Croft, next to Banksy’s iconic mural The Mild, Mild West, but started life as a smaller cafe on Cheltenham Road.

The original cafe closed in June 2018 when a car crashed into the shopfront causing considerable damage. The local community and cafe regulars rallied around to support the cafe which had to close for a year before the pandemic resulted in further delays. It then reopened at Hamilton House.

Owner Shona Graham says it’s the combination of rising costs, staffing issues and also the fact that there is less footfall since the pandemic.

“It’s the perfect s*** storm of the already small margins and not recovering from covid,” said Shona.

“The landscape has completely changed for lunchtime trade, with more people working from home or working shorter weeks, coupled with an extreme rise in costs, staffing shortages and decrease in spending - it’s just now impossible to come back from.”

Shona also runs another Emmeline cafe at Spike Island arts centre in the harbourside and that will remain open when Stokes Croft closes.

She said: “I want to stress at this point is it’s not due to a lack of loyalty from our customers. Loyalty has honestly been outstanding, overwhelming and amazing through the last seven and a half years.”