Coronavirus in Crouch End: Businesses battle to survive amid anxiety over government help schemes and landlords

Lewis Freeman runs Dunn's in Crouch End, which is coping well with the coronavirus pandemic. Picture

Lewis Freeman runs Dunn's in Crouch End, which is coping well with the coronavirus pandemic. Picture; Sam Volpe/Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Business-owners in Crouch End were pleased to see the government announce a raft of measures on Friday to support them through the coronavirus crisis, but speaking to the Ham&High, many explained they were keen to see how things would work in reality.

Greg Vukasovic, who runs the popular Habadashery in Middle Lane, told this newspaper he was also anxious their suppliers could suffer.

He said: “We as a café definitely feel better and grateful knowing there is some certainly about having had to close and that our staff will have support from the government, although we are anxious about the details.

“We are also aware there are many other businesses – including many of our local suppliers and neighbours – who will suffer but aren’t covered by the measures to date.”

Greg also criticised insurers for having “washed their hands” of responsibility, but welcomed community support.

“We are immensely moved by the gestures of our customers and neighbours. The community is closer than before in some ways.”

Lewis Freeman, who runs Dunn’s Bakery, added: “For me, on the retail side of things it’s great to see how it is the smaller indipendent stores have been best placed to cope with the massive uplift in demand. We can respond to changes in demand in hours, not days.”

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He said he too had been reassured by the government measures, but had no plans to close just yet.

But none-food shop owners were anxious. Nicolas Peponnet from Little Paris boutique said he was set to close “indefinitely”.

Windmill Shoes is also closing, saying social distancing advice made shopping there unworkable, while House of Books is getting a delivery service up to speed ahead of shutting.

Adam Bloom who runs the latter added; “In the main I’m pleased with the help the government have offered and just hope it is easy and quick to access. We are hoping landlords will show compassion but doubt it...”

Andrew Georgiou of Broadway Dry Cleaners had a sobering opinion: “My opinion is that as business is so bad it’s actually not worth being open. The government should just order the inevitable complete lockdown and get it over with.”