Independent retailers are divided over the UK’s momentous decision to leave the European Union.
High-profile retailer Kishor Patel, who owns three Nisa stores and a pub in Hertfordshire, said it was a “bad result” for the UK.
“Take an example - once an independent retailer joins a symbol group for a few years, will they be able to trade independently without fascia and symbol support?” he explained.
“If it was not for European chefs in my kitchen we would not have this fantastic award-winning restaurant. We are too far down the line to go it alone.
“Voters were influenced by PR headlines and scaremongering. When they say let’s claim the UK back, what they are going to do is send the immigrants back to their countries.”
“Some of our local suppliers (soft fruit) are very despondent this morning as they rely on Eastern European workers and EU grants for their business to survive. It is inevitable that in the long term either prices will have to rise or smaller local farms will go out of business.”
Kate Mills, Heath Stores, Kent
Justin Taylor, who owns a Spar store in Winford, Somerset, was also disappointed by the result. “I did not welcome the thought of a referendum anyway, it allows a massive decision to be skewed by emotion - immigration being the motivating factor for many voting out - which I think is what has happened,” he said.
Kate Mills, of Heath Stores in Horsmonden, Kent, said: “Some of our local suppliers (soft fruit) are very despondent this morning as they rely on Eastern European workers and EU grants for their business to survive. It is inevitable that in the long term either prices will have to rise or smaller local farms will go out of business.
“I fear that this fragile economic recovery will now reverse and those small businesses already struggling with the consequences of National Living Wage and Pension contributions (policies from our own UK government) may find the possible economic shock the final straw.”
But Saki Ghafoor, who owns Nisa and Bargain Booze stores in Northumberland and Tyne & Wear, welcomed the result.
“I think this is the opportunity to make United Kingdom a great country again where the decisions affecting the people are made in the country by the people we elect,” he said.
“Also I think it will greatly benefit our health system, we’ll have better control of our borders and less of the red tape that was involved by being part of the EU.”
“I believe this will serve as a wake-up call to all in politics that they are currently out of tune with the population.”
Dan Cocks, Whitstone Stores, Devon
Dan Cocks, who runs Whitstone Stores on the Devon/ Cornwall border, said he “tentatively” welcomed the result.
“I believe this will serve as a wake-up call to all in politics that they are currently out of tune with the population and that the turnout alone is a stark reminder that as a nation we have a voice and have become increasingly despondent with the running of the country
“I believe we have always been one of the more financially better off members of the EU and we will now see others follow with their own referendums.”
However, he said he felt “slight trepidation” with financial stability. “Of course Cornwall has benefited from significant EU funding, however I do believe we will now be in a stronger position to support ourselves.”
David Knight, who owns two Budgens stores in West Sussex, said it was a “momentous day for democracy and common sense”.
“I think our country has a huge opportunity to grow in the global markets and think this could be the beginning of the end for the undemocratic, failed project known as the EU. It has been a big talking point in store and I have seen quite a few debates.”