Shop Local: Works to Ilford Station and Covid a ‘double whammy’ says owner of 42-year-old town centre clothing shop
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:06 22 October 2020
The owner of Tight Fit Jeans says that Covid, paired with the closure of the nearest entrance to Ilford Station, has presented a one-two punch to his business, with Brexit being a “third monster” lurking around the corner.
Atul Shah has owned and run the fashion retailer in Cranbrook Road since 1978 along with his brother Max.
Since lockdown hit Atul said their week-on-week takings have gone down at least 30 per cent, which started before Covid hit when the station entrance down the street from his shop closed, reducing the footfall outside.
On top of that is the looming threat of Brexit and how that will affect the large immigrant population in Ilford.
Atul told the Recorder: “We’re sitting on a big monster with Brexit and we don’t know what is going to happen in January.
“Ilford has for the last few years become a very European town, we don’t know their staying power, whether they’re here for the long term or whether they’re going back.”
Tight Fit specialises in denim and fitting out any shape or size so customers walk away with the perfect look just for them.
With so many people working from home and with restrictions on going out to pubs and clubs there is less of a need to buy new clothes and that has hurt businesses like Tight Fit.
Atul says the “three monsters” are waiting to explode and he predicts a lot of businesses in the town centre won’t survive.
“Which one is going to explode first you don’t know.
“Independently you might be OK but if you get three big bangs, oh boy, it’s going to be an interesting time.”
Atul and Max do not let anyone in unless they have a mask and then they immediately make them fill in their info for track and trace.
People are reluctant to comply and sometimes it’s almost led to fights with their customers.
Atul said he is happy to comply with the restrictions but it’s hypocritical that grocery shops and chemists don’t have to follow the same rules, particularly since their footfall is much higher.
Losing a shop that has been part of the Ilford landscape for more than 40 years would be a blow for the community. The best chance of survival for Tight Fit and all the other independent shops in Ilford is for the people who live here to support them.
For more information visit Tight Fit’s instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/tightfitjeans
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