Optimism as Crouch End and Muswell Hill shops, bars and cafes reopen

Aimee Gilbert and Sanchita Basu De Sakar outside of the Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill

Aimee Gilbert and Sanchita Basu De Sakar outside of the Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill as it reopened after the national lockdown this week - Credit: Polly Hancock

Traders in Crouch End and Muswell Hill spoke of "a strong sense of optimism" as they reopened this week. 

With lockdown easing, non-essential shops - along with pubs and cafés with outside space, hair and beauty salons and gyms - were finally able to reopen. 

In Muswell Hill Broadway, bookshops and interiors stores were among those celebrating. 

Sue Colver, from Sally Bourne Interiors, said: “While we never closed the shop entirely during the lockdown, doing click and collects is not the same as being open as usual. 

“It’s been quite busy but not as frantic as we thought it would be. There’s just a strong sense of optimism in the air around the community now that we’re back in business doing what we do best."  

Big Issue seller Jonathan Gregg is back at his regular pitch outside Marks & Spencer on Muswell Hill

Big Issue seller Jonathan Gregg is back at his regular pitch outside Marks & Spencer on Muswell Hill Broadway - Credit: Polly Hancock

Up in Fortis Green Road, Sanchita Basu de Sarkar, who owns the Children’s Bookshop, echoed this. She said while click and collect “doesn’t make up for the lost revenue, since reopening we’ve been swamped”. 

She added: “The best thing is seeing our regulars. We’ve missed the interactions we have working in the store face to face.” 

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In Crouch End, Nikki McAuliffe - who owns the Soup Dragon children's shop in Tottenham Lane - said: “It was so lovely to welcome customers back and they seemed just as excited as we were to open. 

“Funnily enough, our opening on Monday was delayed because we had a hitch with our till, so we couldn’t open until 10.30 am."

Sue Colver manager at Sally Bourne Interiors Muswell Hill.

Sue Colver, manager at Sally Bourne Interiors Muswell Hill - Credit: Polly Hancock

Charity shops were also able to open doors once again and the assistant manager of Muswell Hill's All Dogs Matter store Lisa said the first day had been "crazy busy". She added: "We would have thought it would have got quieter as the week went on, but we have people queuing to get in all day.” 

On the second day of reopening, the store had some interesting items to arrange on the shop floor - some loud shirts donated by comic Alan Carr. 

James Bennett at All Dogs Matter charity shop with some shirts recently donated by Alan Carr

James Bennett at All Dogs Matter charity shop with some shirts recently donated by Alan Carr - Credit: Polly Hancock

A bustling Muswell Hill as shop's reopened on April 13

A bustling Muswell Hill as shop's reopened on April 13 - Credit: Polly Hancock

Cafes have also been able to reopen - Evelina and Wojtek from Evelina's Patisserie in Muswell Hill said they had a quiet Monday morning, but "then it picked up".

In the hospitality industry, not all pubs and bars have reopened. Alan Sherwood, who runs Little Mercies in Crouch End, said: “We don’t have enough outdoor space to financially justify reopening just yet.

“While it is frustrating that we have to wait till 18 May, I should hopefully have enough time to sort through my delivery of 1,000 bottles of beer."

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