Grocers and butchers return to our high streets: New trend as Co-op and Post Office back our £5m boost for small firms
- Independent traders are moving into vacant high street stores across London
- Wave of interest from independent butchers, fruit and vegetable retailers
- Small traders are looking for sites on high streets in so-called urban ‘villages’
Independent traders are moving into vacant high street stores across parts of London in a bet that people will shop more locally when the coronavirus lockdown ends.
Property agent Strettons said that since the crisis began in March it had seen a wave of interest from independent butchers, fruit and vegetable retailers and restaurateurs running takeaways.
It said small traders were looking for sites on high streets in so-called urban ‘villages’ that are growing in popularity. In London, he named Brixton in the south, Walthamstow and Hackney in the east and Deptford in the south-east as hotspots.
Independent traders are moving into vacant high street stores across parts of London
People who live in urban areas have been shopping less often in big supermarkets during the crisis, partly because of long queues due to social distancing restrictions and having been told to travel less.
Experts think this trend could continue after lockdown, with people turning to local goods and services more often to avoid crowds.
A boom in local shopping would be another big boost for struggling small firms, following The Mail on Sunday’s groundbreaking scheme to give away £5million of free adverts.
Our newspaper group is helping 1,500 small firms back on their feet with adverts from next Sunday in The Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Metro and the i newspaper, as well as online at Mail Online and Metro.co.uk.
Today, bosses at community-focused businesses The Co-operative Group and the Post Office throw their weight behind our campaign to revive the firms that are the heartbeat of our communities.
Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells said: ‘The past few weeks has shown what we can achieve as a nation. As we move forwards in managing the consequences of Covid-19, I would encourage everyone now to support their local businesses where they can.
‘A thriving local community, driven by small business and enterprise, delivers much more than pure economic benefit for the area. It can fuel community wellbeing, bring neighbourhoods together and create a sense of pride and belonging.’
Cottage industry: Caroline Brook says our adverts will help her firm
Post Office chief executive Nick Read said: ‘We were thrilled The Mail on Sunday has launched this campaign to support small firms that are the backbone of the UK.’
High streets have been decimated by more than a decade of retail failures, from Woolworths to BHS, and more recently the collapse of restaurant and coffee chains such as Carluccio’s and Patisserie Valerie.
Chris Collins, at Strettons, said big operators were not currently in the market for high street properties but independents were. He said: ‘Our experience shows they are grasping the opportunity to move to, or open up in, a prominent location in an up-and-coming area.’
Collins said independent retailers were ‘viewing this as the right time to secure themselves a more prominent location at a good price’.
Post Office boss Nick Read backs the Mail on Sunday’s campaign to support small firms
One company retailers might turn to after the lockdown is Creative Download – one of the recipients of our advertising giveaway. The visual merchandising consultancy was founded by Iain Kimmins, who has worked at Harrods and Selfridges.
He said: ‘I help retailers with the overall look of the store, from shop windows and fixtures to the layout, to create ‘retail theatre’.’ Getting the advertising, worth over £3,000, was ‘absolutely amazing’, he said.
Another winner is Caroline Brook, 41, who runs Moonrise Lodges to boost income from her family dairy farm in the Shropshire hills.
‘The farm is going through a difficult time because of the fall in the price of milk – a knock-on from the catering and hospitality industry disappearing overnight,’ she said.
‘We’re taking bookings from July on when we are hopeful we will be given the go-ahead to open. This grant will really give my business a much needed boost going forward in this year and into 2021 as well.’