Ilford business owners adjust to new world on reopening
- Credit: Ken Mears
Some Ilford business owners have said they are cautiously optimistic as they finally reopen their doors, but have stressed the challenges ahead.
Atul Shah said his clothing shop Tight Fit in Cranbrook Road has been packed all morning with customers eager to get some new clothes, but said the real test will be once restaurants open for indoor dining and more people are going out.
He told the Recorder: "So far a lot of the people who have come in are those who are getting ready to go on trips, regardless if it's not allowed yet.
"Even though restaurants are open for outdoor dining, I think once the weather improves and people can go out and eat indoors, then we might get more customers who want a new outfit and want to look good."
Despite sales being good on April 12, it wasn't all good news since someone has already stolen a prop outside the shop - less than a day after it was on display.
David Christof, owner of The Prince of Wales pub, said its beer garden has been full since it opened up at 2pm today (April 12) but some customers are adjusting to having to sit by themselves at a table outside.
It has capacity for about 200 people if all the tables are full, but most can now only be occupied by one or two people in line with social distancing restrictions.
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He told the Recorder: "If you're a pub person you're an inside person. We've had a steady flow of people wandering in a bit of a daze and having to adjust to sitting at a table alone, outside by themselves."
He said it has also been an adjustment for himself and his staff, since they need to spend a lot more time with each customer.
"The service is slower because we have to do the contact tracing and need to wait on every customer so we're just getting used to that ourselves."
Atul said while some of his regular customers were thankful to finally come into the shop, they were surprised to see price rises now he has to factor in the custom duties and VAT after Brexit.
He said: "Some of our suppliers have put their prices up 10-15 per cent so I think a lot of the public is going to be up for a shock."