When Junipers Coffee Shop in the Manchester suburb of Chorlton began filling up in the summer, David Rodriguez noticed that something had changed.
Weekdays, usually much quieter with a small lunchtime crowd, were suddenly busy. Workers stuck at home headed to his café in search of somewhere with a little more atmosphere.
“We were 20% busier during the week than we were last year,” said Rodriguez, 45. Junipers’ story has been repeated across the UK. As town centres have been hollowed out, leaving their restaurants, shops, pubs and coffee shops fighting for survival, pockets of suburbia have flourished.
Junipers, which opened six years ago, rode the coffee shop wave that was born in the 1990s and turbocharged by chains such as Costa, Caffè Nero, Starbucks