Shop Local: ‘Hampstead is open’ say traders and BID all hoping customers return to the high street
- Credit: Sayeh and Galton
Hampstead’s shops are united in calling for customers to trust them and come out and shop locally as lockdown eases and non-essential stores open their doors.
Disagreements over, for example, the Hampstead Village Business Improvement District (BID) are on the back-burner as traders are all crossing their fingers and hoping customers visit the high street.
Marcos Gold, manager of the BID, told this newspaper: “One of the big things is confidence. We are saying to people that businesses are safe, and our businesses are doing everything they possibly can to maintain social distancing.
“We are making sure we are sending the message: Hampstead is open.”
Marcos said local businesses were well aware of the particular challenges on some streets, like Flask Walk – “a definite potential pinch point” – and the BID had been helping businesses in such places to come up with ways of managing.
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He added: “They will only be able to have say one or two people in a shop. We want to make sure there’s a level of confidence, and that people feel comfortable coming out.”
Camilla Delmaestro, who runs a jewellery and crystal shop on the corner of Perrin’s Walk and Heath Street and is also secretary of the BID Abolishment Campaign, told the Ham&High online sales had kept her business going.
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She said: “Opening on the 15th - that’s the plan. We’ve been okay because of our online presence. When we reopen, because we’re quite small we’ll have to have one person in the shop at a time. We’ll manage. Let’s see what happens.”
Sayeh Rafiei, who runs Sayeh and Galton Flowers in Flask Walk, reopened her shop on June 1 and said: “Since we reopened, with social distancing, it’s been ‘so far, so good’.”
“During the lockdown I was just working from home and through deliveries, so we have been able to continue business, but it’s been a different league unfortunately. We really need our weekly customers to come back.”
Marcos explained the BID had deferred the levy it collects for three months and slimmed down operations during lockdown, and would work with individual BID members on financial support where necessary.