Planet Organic to open in Broadway Market despite thousands of signatures in protest
- Credit: Charissa Cheong
Planet Organic still plans to open on Broadway Market, despite a petition with thousands of signatures voicing concerns over its impact on family-run businesses.
The petition currently has 3,383 signatures from residents calling on Hackney Council to prevent the store from opening.
Planet Organic is a chain of organic London supermarkets who aim to up their store numbers from seven to 18 by 2025.
Broadway Market is largely occupied by independent family businesses like Figs and Grain, managed by Sulayman Sucu, 25.
Sucu said he was concerned about the large size of the Planet Organic site, which might drive smaller shops out of business.
He added: “Once those independent shops start to close, you lose the whole essence of the road. What will be next, a McDonalds?”
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He said that Broadway Market stores have banded together around the petition, but he wishes that MPs and councillors would be more vocal about protecting small businesses.
Owner of London Fields Express, Hisar Aslan, 38, said: “There’s no need for another organic shop. 50 per cent of my produce is organic, and I’m not hopeful about what will happen to my business.”
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He added that he would consider letting go of some employees if footfall dropped due to competition with the new chain.
Not all vendors chose to sign the petition, however, and Mico Altun, 38, who has owned organic grocery Sultan Food & Wine for 21 years, said he is not worried about the proposed Planet Organic.
He continued: “Competition is everywhere. To anyone who wants to open a shop here, all I say good luck.”
A council spokesperson clarified that the site Planet Organic plans to move into is privately owned and that the council cannot control which businesses move onto the street.
Planet Organic buying director Al Overton said: “What really matters to us is helping our local communities, which is why we always support local initiatives, schools and charities in our neighbourhoods, as well as ensuring leftover food is distributed to the community via Olio and Too Good To Go.”
“We have been supporting charities like Made In Hackney for many years and we are also speaking with Hackney Council to become an employer partner; providing apprenticeship and mentorship programs to the Hackney community.
“The new shop will be 2,450sqft, similar to our neighbouring shops.”
Planet Organic plans to open its Broadway Market store in December 2021, or in the early months of 2022.