Kristi's Shoe Repairs forced to stop trading in Ilford despite thousands signing petition
PUBLISHED: 17:00 27 September 2019
Transport for London (TfL) has taken possession of a cobbler's shop in Ilford.
Kristi's Shoe Repairs was trading in Cranbrook Road, Ilford, for more than 24 years, but the company was made to move out at the beginning of September.
Owner of the shop, Jimmy Papi, 61, said it was with the greatest of sadness that he has to "relinquish the helm of Kristi's".
"They need it for the redevelopment - I understand they need to do it but the timing for me has been a little bit premature," he explained
"I would rather have not been closed down.
"It had to happen but I would have like to have the option for them to have retail outlets in the new station complex.
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"If there was it would have been nice to have first refusal."
Mr Papi was "extremely grateful" to all the customers for their support over the years and said his relationship with shoppers was a "two-way street".
Around 2,500 people signed a petition to save the cobbler when news of his eviction was first revealed two years ago and the backing really comforted him.
"Some [customers] said I was part of the community of Ilford," he added.
"Without their support, I couldn't have succeeded in the last quarter of a century.
"It's very sad I had to go but progress is progress.
"I have always been a believer that the station really needed renovation but would have like to stayed on for another half a dozen more years.
"I don't know what I am going to do next."