Shop local: Muswell Hill residents urged to back businesses
- Credit: Deanna Bogdanovic
As shops prepare to reopen, Muswell Hill businesses are urging people to help preserve the high street’s “personal touch”.
Non-essential shops will be able to open their doors from June 15 as the coronavirus lockdown eases, with July 4 the possible date for other businesses including pubs, restaurants and hairdressers.
Muswell Hill Traders Association committee member Deanna Bogdanovic is urging people to “shop shop shop”.
Deanna, who runs BonaFide Studio in St James’s Lane, said: “It’s not just about the turnover of the shop, it’s also about that moral support that we desperately need.
“We need our residents to encourage us, to show us that we are important to them. That’s what shopkeepers are looking for – not just the purchase, but that pat on the back.
“The recognition that we survived it, we are open, and we are important to the community.”
Safety comes first, says Deanna, and around 50 active members of the trading association have been sharing knowledge on how to implement social distancing in their different premises.
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The Flowers Seller, Broadway Pet Stores and The Grove Cafe are some of the shops open this week, with Hopper & Bean, Stella’s Room and Toff’s amongst those serving takeaways.
“Those little Muswell Hill shops are why we live here,” said Deanna. “It’s that personal touch of ‘meet and greet’, where you see the same faces with the same smiles. It’s more than just shopping, it’s being known and feeling at home.
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“We all live a very busy life and sometimes you just don’t know what you want, but shopkeepers always do.”
In November 2018, Muswell Hill Broadway was named London’s “healthiest high street” after research by the Royal Society for Public Health.
For Deanna, being part of that retail ecosystem means thinking beyond profit to the long-term impact on the community.
“That’s why there are not many fast food shops in Muswell Hill, because we are not thinking just how to earn a quick buck, but what sort of legacy we are leaving,” she said.
Working with Muswell Hill Sustainability Group, the trading association is looking at ways to reduce packaging.
Hairdressers are accepting bookings for the first few weeks from July 4, and Deanna said: “I think we are all looking forward to that one.”