Independent retailers in north London are fighting back after a burst water pipe threatened to wash away their Christmas sales.
Camden Passage in Islington, north London, where a burst water pipe caused floods
Damage to homes and businesses has been estimated to cost millions of pounds after a mains burst on Upper Street in Islington last week. Several retailers on Camden Passage have reopened for festive trading, but some remain closed and have no timeframe for renovation.
However, local business owners have rallied with a Twitter campaign, exclaiming: “It will take more than a flood to wash us away.”
Eloise Rigby, who launched her lingerie store The Pantry Underwear on Islington High Street at the end of September, said the floods have kept shoppers away and “destroyed” the retail atmosphere.
Alia Qladir, owner of designer clothing store Studio One Twenty, said: “We had to close for four days, but luckily, we were not badly affected because we are on the first floor.”
She added: “The main issue we had was ruined entrance, therefore we had to be closed longer than expected. All stores that managed to reopen quickly are offering late night shopping until 9pm, and we are trying to keep the spirit going. Flooding has definitely changed the mood.”
Aldo Acchiardi, owner of men’s and women’s clothing store Workshop in Camden Passage, said: “The biggest problem we have is a flooring change now, but we expect to reopen in a week’s time. We are lucky to be on this side of the street because stores on the other side have all stock damaged and may reopen just after Christmas.”
Independent womenswear boutique Victoria Beau and outdoor clothing and footwear retailer Cotswold were also among those closed for business last week while repairs were made.
However, Lyn Bannister, a shop assistant at vintage clothes store Annie’s, said trade had picked up as lots of people were in the area to see what had happened.
“The only thing that affected us was disruption of emergency services because of all mess in the basement and police around,” she said.
Rachel Richards, owner of an independent jewellery boutique The Wearer, said: “We were closed on Monday [5 November], but reopened the next day. It’s become quieter and will definitely affect businesses over here. We will have late-night openings during next couple of days with music and drinks to encourage people to shop.”