Shop Local: Markets are ‘first stone’ in building up economy, say Hackney traders
- Credit: Hayley Clarke
Broadway Market’s street food traders are both optimistic and concerned about the future since the market reopened after the lockdown.
A 12-week trial of the Street Food Market began on Fridays on October 2 for six weeks and will move to Sundays starting 16 November.
As part of a new Shop Local campaign launched by this newspaper, the Gazette spoke to food vendors about their experiences since reopening.
Alberto Ambler, owner of La Cocinita stall, said: “Week by week it has been going up, so it’s brilliant. More people know we are here. I’m happy.
“Business wise, if we compare now to a normal Saturday in Broadway Market, it’s terrible. We’re down 60 per cent.
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“Please support us, because it’s the local economy we need to support. If we do well in our communities then that’s going to be the first stone in building up the economy.”
Kai Rehman of Urban Falafel was less positive about the reopening and explained the strain the pandemic has brought the hospitality industry.
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He said: “Lockdown was mentally and financially very difficult.
“We’re not eligible to get any type of support from the government or council unfortunately, it’s really unfair.”
Looking ahead to Christmas, he added: “I’m not really optimistic to be honest. It’s still a very difficult situation.”
Andrew Ling and Peter Lothian of BBQ Dept agreed with Kai’s outlook and are concerned about what a possible move into Tier Three restrictions could mean for their four-year-old business.
Andrew said: “Takings wise, compared to last year, it’s about a third at most.
“We’re just about managing to survive. Our aim is to survive until next year and hope that things pick up. That’s the goal.”
On his message to customers, Andrew added: “We need your help, come back.”
Meanwhile, Jon Knowles, owner of Makatcha stall, explained how his priority is supporting staff to keep their jobs.
He said: “Everybody is in a really difficult, miserable situation and it’s not right.
“I don’t want to put people out on the street, I want to share the money we have to make sure we come through this.
“I love it here, it’s quite special. Hackney is very vibrant.”
Hackney Council is surveying customers, traders and local residents to allow stakeholders to give their views here.
As part of the Gazette’s Shop Local campaign, we’ll be highlighting the work of independent traders. Get in touch at Holly.Chant@archant.co.uk.