Mare Street Narroway see's queues for Primark and independent shops reopen on April 12
- Credit: Holly Chant
The reopening of Hackney shops, hairdressers, leisure centres and outdoor beer gardens saw a line of customer’s queuing up to visit the Narroway’s Primark on April 12.
While some shoppers said they were happy to wait in the retail giant's queue, others browsed independent stores like vintage clothing boutique, Paper Dress Vintage.
Nathalie Punter, 28 , who works at the vintage clothes shop, which doubled as a music venue pre-Covid, said: “It’s nice seeing our customers again.”
She added that during lockdown Paper Dress Vintage had turned to online sales, so she and other staff had been busy preparing the “physical stuff” last week for the reopening.
Owner of Super Grows Cosmetics on Mare Street, Muhammed Mohin however, said business had been “very quiet” so far.
He had opened his shop a few days before the first lockdown and said: “That was heart-breaking.”
Muhammed, however, has another shop just three doors down from his new store on Mare Street, which he said was much busier.
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“The other shop has been open for 20 odd years, this one is brand new and not a lot of people know about it so that’s why it is not very busy,” he said.
Some Hackney residents like forager and legend Jonathan Cook, more commonly known as John The Poacher, took advantage of the recent lifting of some Covid restrictions by visiting a local pub.
John, who lives near Springfield Gardens in Upper Clapton and has lived in Hackney for 38 years, said: “I thought I would drop in and have a pint at [Hackney Tap]. It’s nice to have a pint that’s on draught rather than having to have it out of bottles or cans.”
John said of the reopening: “It’s good. I just hope a lot of [local shops and pubs] can survive.
"Everyone now has got so used to using the Internet which might still hinder a lot of the shops."
The newly opened Hackney Tap, formerly a betting shop and once the first Hackney Town Hall, was also visited by Hackney’s speaker Kam Adams and Labour councillor for Hackney Central ward, Vincent Stops.
The speaker, who had ordered an orange juice, said: “It’s very nice for us to support our local businesses looking at what has happened in the past year."
Councillor Stops added that the beer was “fab” and said: “We are all so pleased that [the pub] is no longer a betting shop.
“People can sit down have a chat, it is great fun and, it has brought a fantastic building into good use.”