Why Nottingham? Rob Darby from 200 Degrees Coffee gives us his view

Why Nottingham is back again and in this months feature we sit down with Rob Darby, CEO, at 200 Degrees Coffee.

Q1: When did you first start to work in Nottingham?

I first worked in Nottingham in 1996 at the Willoughby Arms in Wollaton (now called The Wollaton). The first business Tom (Vincent) and I opened was The Old Peacock on Ilkeston Road in Lenton. It was run down at the time, we refurbished it with a loan from the brewery and reopened it as a student pub.

Q2: What first attracted you to the city?

I came to Nottingham in 1992 as a student at Nottingham University to study Environment Engineering. The campus at Nottingham and how friendly the locals were was what originally sold Nottingham to me and ever since it has been a great place to live, work and study.

Q3: How has it changed during your time here?

When I first came to Nottingham it was a retail destination people would travel to from far and wide because of the quality of the shopping. Over the past 20 years this seems to have been eroded by a lack of investment and there is no longer a buzz about shopping in Nottingham. I do however think Nottingham overall is still a vibrant city with two fantastic universities, a culture of embracing independent business and a very bright outlook.

Q4: What is/are the biggest challenges we face as a city compared with our regional “rivals” and nationally

We need to keep investing to compete with our rivals, who I think at the minute are the likes of Derby, Leicester and Sheffield. The Victoria centre will always sit behind some of the competition so we need to ensure the rest of the city compensates for that.

Q5: How long is your daily commute and how do you get into the city?

My commute takes me about 10 minutes. I normally drive as I am often out and about visiting our shops in other cities.

 Q6: What are your favourite places to eat and drink for business and pleasure?

Most of my meetings are in 200 Degrees but when I’m not there I like Coco Tang. It always has a great atmosphere and fantastic customer service. In the evening I think the food and atmosphere in Iberico is hard to beat.

Q7: Finally, if you had a blank canvas, what would you like to see happen in the next 12 months?

First I’d start with building a world class shopping centre that brings Nottingham back to the forefront of retail shopping. I’d also like to see an improvement in the local authority support network and services for those suffering from addiction and homelessness. Finally, and I appreciate this might be a long shot on current form…….I’d love to see Notts CCC to start winning some 4 day games.