Shop Local: Hoxton bookshop owner praises Hackney people for shopping local
PUBLISHED: 09:07 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 09:05 17 November 2020
A Hoxton bookshop owner says support from local people has kept her business going during the coronavirus crisis.
Owner of Bookartbookshop Tanya Peixoto has been running her business on Pitfield Street for 20 years but the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has greatly affected the independent store by reducing footfall in the area.
Tanya says the once bustling street on which her business sits is now much quieter without visitors from outside the borough, such as students, tourists and people working in the area who would often pass by and buy cards, books, wrapping paper and presents.
She said: “We’re really grateful for and reliant on the local residents, especially as spending money is an issue at this time and books are a bit of a luxury when you’ve got to feed your children.”
The owner says her bookshop is a “love project” and it’s survival is “largely down to a lot of good will and people”.
“You certainly would find things here that you would never have seen anywhere else – things that are handmade or in very small editions that once they are sold, that is it - you’ll never find them again,” she said.
Her shop’s uniqueness and personal service it offers is one of the reasons Tanya has not set up an online store despite it becoming a popular method to boost sales.
Tanya told the Gazette: “We could go online but we’re not that kind of a shop.
“These are very small limited edition works. They are the kind of books that you really need to come in and experience. We are interested in the experience of the book, not just the reading.
“It’s not an online option for us I don’t think. I’ve resisted that all the way through and I still don’t think it’s right for us.”
Tanya says tighter restrictions could mean the very “worst scenario” imaginable - losing the artists she employs, no longer able to cover their wages.
Still, the owner is confident she can carry on until at least next year, despite sales dropping to “not even” 25 per cent of previous years.
“I think seeing shops open gives you hope. Seeing shops shut fills you with a sense of despair that everything is closing down like seeing the shops that we’ve lost on Pitfield Street – The Hat shop, Pitfield Café and Shush.”
Tanya was grateful for a £10,000 government grant she received, saying that support was “extremely helpful” in getting through lockdown, as it covered the rent.
“We would not have been able to continue without it,” she said.
For more information about Bookartbookshop, click here.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Hackney Gazette. Click the link in the orange box above for details.