Hockley businesses betting on renewal as people return to stores again

With coronavirus restrictions easing and people recovering from Christmas spending, businesses in Hockley are hoping to reap the benefits of increased attendance.

Nottingham’s city center district is full of shops, cafes and restaurants and has a culture bustling with independent businesses.

Last month it was also named one of the 12 “coolest zip codes to move to in 2022” by The Times thanks to its graffiti murals, indie spots and live music venues.

But, as with everything, under previous coronavirus restrictions, stores in Hockley have had to struggle.

Now that shops, bars and restaurants are open again and face masks are no longer mandatory, they hope for an increase in business.

Callumn Scott, an assistant at the White Rose charity store on Goose Gate, has noticed an increase in customers over the past week.

“It’s getting back to some form of normalcy, and it’s definitely getting busier, which is good to see,” Callumn, 27, said.

“Especially last weekend with payday, although it was further away than the other White Roses in town,” he added.

“I am excited but worried. I don’t know if it will be simple, but summer is usually our busiest time at White Rose, especially with lots of footfall from the outdoor seating that the bars and cafes provide in Hockley.”

Hipo Coffee, a cafe in the heart of Hockley, has really noticed an increase in sales.

“At the start of January we were taking around £70 a day, now we’re taking well over double that,” said Brandon Walster, a member of staff at the Carlton Street outlet.

“We opened during lockdown so I don’t have a clear idea of ​​what normal would really look like. But I’m enjoying it a lot more now that the restrictions have eased – the days don’t drag on.

Brandon, 21, also said he noticed an increase in older people coming to the cafe.

“Older people are usually a big clientele for cafes, so while they still have to wear masks and be careful, it’s nice to see them living their lives again,” he added.

Braderie, a vintage boutique on Pelham Street, has recently noticed a drop in footfall.

Chantal Kennedy, Store Manager at Braderie, said: “With two new vintage stores opening in town, there is more direct competition. But it’s always ups and downs in retail.

She said she hopes the nature of vintage shopping works in her favor.

“It’s a tactile shopping experience. There may be boredom with shopping online because that used to be all people could do, but now people are even buying just for the pure experience,” said Chantal, 36.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Chantal said, adding that she didn’t find business had dropped too much even in the early stages of the tighter restrictions.

This positivity was also echoed by a buyer, who wanted life to continue to return to some sort of normalcy, especially in public spaces.

“This variation doesn’t seem as bad as the previous one, and with being bitten, I don’t feel as worried,” said Irene, 73.

“Being older, I still choose to wear my mask, but I want to be able to enjoy my life, like everyone else.”

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