Hampstead 'business hero' honoured for work with Soho Dairy street stall
- Credit: SME National Business Awards / Kiki Kendrick
Robin Smith has run the Soho Dairy stall in Soho for five years - and the Hampstead resident has been honoured with a national award after spending the pandemic as one of the few businesses still open in central London.
Robin, who has lived in Mackeson Road for 30 years, won the "business hero" gong at this year's SME National Business Awards which were held at Wembley Stadium on July 28.
Speaking to the Ham&High, Robin explained his stall had become a community hub as other businesses were shuttered for much of the pandemic.
Enjoying the award, he said: "It's absolutely fab. It's an award voted for by the public - so it means we are doing something right.
"In the past 18 months it's been about getting through the pandemic and being there for our customers."
Robin said the award was especially a boost after "all of the financial pressures we've faced" throughout the pandemic.
Soho Dairy has also even been delivering its fresh British produce - primarily milk, cheese and eggs - to his neighbours in Mackeson Road.
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But back in central London, Robin reflected on a strange period which had seen his stall become "more than just a business" in Berwick Street Market.
He said: "In the community in Soho, you could hear a conversation in Fitzrovia half a mile away. It was so deserted. We've been there come what may, day-in, day-out.
"We became a bit of a therapy stand for people in all of the small flats and bedsits that Soho is full of. We have just been here for people."
Robin - who chairs the Berwick Street Traders' Society - said he was pleased just to be keeping the market there alive.
He said: "We set up the stall in 2015. Since then it's been demolition and development all over. We've had a real run of it."
He said this had been incredibly difficult for traders, but added: "It feels like we are coming out of the other side. It's reassuring that there's a little light.
"This award means an awful lot to us, with all of the financial pressures, at some times it's been overwhelming. So to get something like this means we have something to push back with.
"We're here for the market, and we hope with other traders the market will be getting back to life."