Covid - A Year On: Hoxton Street Market looks to business returning

Ata Hassan-Pour-Shater, founder of the Bean Extract in Hoxton Street Market

Ata Hassan-Pour-Shater, founder of the Bean Extract in Hoxton Street Market - Credit: Begum

For traders at Hackney's Hoxton Street Market the past year has been a difficult one, but hopes are high for business to return as restrictions ease. 

If the government's roadmap continues as planned, all shops will be able to reopen on April 12.

Ata Hassan-Pour-Shater founded the Bean Extract, selling hand-roasted coffee and hot chocolate, last February and began trading at Hoxton Street Market in September.

The 31-year-old said: “I started just before we went into a global pandemic. It wasn’t easy. I feel like it’s possibly one of the most intense experiences of my life." 

He continued: "I only just resigned from my job and wanted to strike out on my own, set up my own company. I didn’t know that a pandemic would happen. I just had to sort of adapt with that."

He said he started looking at different markets for a new base, and came across Hoxton.

“Coffee for me is...a passion that led into a job and for me I started the company because I wanted to create something that people would love. And when that happens it’s amazing because you know you are doing something right." 

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He said through being creative he is looking to build something, and that return business is important.

“Just this morning I had a chap who has just moved to the area," he said. "I asked him 'have you been here before?' and he said 'no, all my flatmates told me to come here'. That makes you feel like you’re providing something real."

Hoxton Street Market

Hoxton Street Market - Credit: Begum

Shams Khan, 24, who works at a fruit and vegetables stall, said the market is quiet, but added: "Regular customers have still been coming - business is normal. Of course, it will increase after lockdown”. 

Daniel O'Sullivan, markets service area manager at Hackney Council, said: "Our market traders are a crucial part of Hackney's economy and we have done everything we can to support their business throughout the pandemic.

"For traders who sell essential goods, we have supported them to remain open to ensure people can get items they need locally and for a good price, these traders have provided an essential service as key workers.

"When markets are allowed to fully reopen later this year we will be encouraging people to shop local at them through our 'love hackney, shop local' campaign."

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