Store owners affected by the recent riots are slowly rebuilding their businesses as they face up to a brave new world of retailing.
Some retailers are considering strengthening their security, but for the most part they are trying to claw back lost trade.
Kulbir Kapoor, who owns Best One in Clapham Junction, London, said business had been quiet since the riots, especially at night, “but people are more polite to us now because they realise how hard we work to make money”.
He suffered only minor damage to windows and shutters, which prevented rioters from breaking in. “We’ll be adding more security to the shutters,” Kulbir added.
Dee Patel of Early to Late, London Road, Croydon, said: “Business is back to normal now. We close earlier, though, because we don’t want to risk our safety. We’ve replaced the old shutter with a better one and bought more locks for the doors. We still get worried when a group of people come into the store in case they’re going to cause trouble.”
Manchester Spar retailer Paul Stone said he wouldn’t be making changes to an already sophisticated security system. “Nothing would have deterred rioting on that scale,” he said.
Minesh Patel of Quick Stop Express in Reeves Corner, Croydon, said: “It’s slowly getting back to normal. My customers have been brilliant really supportive.”
He said he was already well-equipped in terms of security. “The council-run Safer Croydon Radio System was really helpful during the riots; other shops kept us informed about what was happening. If there are any problems, you get on the radio straightaway. It only costs us £30 a month.”
However, Minesh has other problems that won’t be overcome so easily. “I’ve just heard that a Tesco Express will open across the road. There were rumours going around, but then the shop next door received a letter which was addressed to Tesco Express,” Minesh said.
He added: “We’re right outside the tram stop here, but lose 30 or 40 customers a day because we can’t get an Oyster sales system.”