‘It could be the end of Norwich market’ - Traders’ survival fears months after lockdown
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
Concern has been growing among traders that coronavirus could spell the end for Norwich Market after business continues to stagnate months after lockdown.
Anita Adcock, owner of The Mushy Peas, said the stall was surviving by “the skin of our teeth” after running at 50pc trade since reopening in June.
She said: “We can just about survive. But if we had another longer lockdown, more than a two-week circuit breaker, I don’t know if we could. But we are market traders, we just get up and we do it.”
The owner of Shadez Nails, who did not want to be named, feared the market may not survive if business did not pick up.
“It might be the end of the market,” she said, “I don’t know how it will survive but we’ll see. It’s all about riding this wave out. But many business aren’t going to be able to do that.”
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The owner said trade had dropped by 50pc.
Some 80pc of the business comes from footfall, which she said had not recovered due to people being “terrified” of coming to Norwich due to the pandemic.
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She said: “We’ve been told by customers that they are avoiding coming into the city on Saturday, for fears of crowds and catching the virus.
“In terms of Christmas, it’s hard to know what will happen.”
For Jazz Singh, owner of Indian Feast, there has been on average a 60pc loss in business every month since reopening in June.
He said in July and June - and the past three weeks - there have been “no customers at all.”
Mr Singh said: “Lots of customers are working from home. We’ve had a loss of customers from major Norwich offices. They used to come twice a week but now, if they come at all, it’s once a month.
“Summer was hard because there were no events, like the Lord Mayor’s Celebration. It’s very hard to say what’s next.”
For Tom Loudon, owner of Substrata Wines, Saturday business is nearly back at pre-lockdown levels, although mid-week trade is down by 50pc.
Since the pandemic, the business has launched a delivery service, which Mr Loudon says now accounts from a third to a half of all profit.
He said: “ I hope things pick up in Christmas and we’ll hopefully survive. We’re a young business and we have low overheads, so we’re fairly nimble.”