Concerns for city shops hit by ‘combination’ of lockdown and Brexit

Shop owners in part of Nottingham fear an ‘imminent economic crisis’ in the country’s third lockdown.

Many operators say they are struggling to get their products delivered to the UK as most distributors had to cancel shipments or raise costs.

The issues over shipping have been exacerbated by restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic leading to the future of their businesses being uncertain.

For Mohammed Hanif, 44, having Brexit and the pandemic happening in the same year was the ‘perfect combination for disaster’.

The Spice House fast food store owner said: “We import from Europe, so Brexit has affected us and the distribution costs.

“We have Brexit and Covid-19 at the same time, it’s the perfect combination for disaster.

“I’m very concerned about the future of my business.”

“We can only hope that we will see brighter days, but our economy is put at the back door.

“We have to go through Brexit and coronavirus at the same time and we weren’t ready mentally.”

Mobeen Mohammed, 28, a shop worker at Kamal, an Asian and African food store in Radford road, said: “After the first lockdown, it all went downhill from there.

“We get only our regular customers, and they would come in the store just once a week, so it’s not a consistent influx.

Mobeen Mohammed, 28, shop worker at Kamal food store. (Credit: Olimpia Zagnat)

“It’s very quiet, and it’s the same for everyone.

“We wasted a lot of fruits and vegetables, but we had to adjust our stock.”

Mobeen said while many people were scared to come into the store and risk catching Covid, he was more concerned about losing his job.

He added: “People were scared in the first lockdown, but I wasn’t.

“I had to come in anyway, I need the money.”

Lola Abimbola, 28, has echoed these concerns, saying she had to make price adjustments to compensate the import taxes.

She and her 40-year-old sister, Ola Adecouyi, are running the African and Caribbean food store Yomade, in Radford road.

Lola added: “Brexit and Covid-19 affected our prices because many of our African products are imported from Europe.

“It was a big adjustment.

Lola Abimbola, 28, co-owner of Yomade Africa food store on Radford road. (Credit: Olimpia Zagnat)

“On a normal day, you would know what time is it by the customers you get: adults on their way to work in the morning, then children who come back from school in the afternoon.

“Now many people ask their products to be delivered by taxi.”

Wilok’s retail assistant Musa Sanyang, 36, said the current situation made it difficult for international shops to survive.

He added: “Covid-19 has a bigger impact on our business than Brexit does.

Musa Sanyang, 36, retail assistant at Wilkok’s international food store. (Credit: Olimpia Zagnat)

“Our suppliers had to shut or cannot deliver our products, and our sales are down to 50 percent than before.

“We’re 40 per cent down in customers and there’s a massive waste in food.”

“We do what we can, but it’s very tough.”

Muhammed Abid Madni, 61, has been running his business in Hyson Green for nearly 15 years.

He said he has never had “a harder time to get customers in”.

The Madni Sweets store owner added: “This time is very bad.

Muhammed Abid Madni, 61, has been running his business for 15 years. (Credit: Olimpia Zagnat)

“I had a few people coming in without a mask, and I told them to respect the rules.”

“This lockdown is the worst, absolutely no one wants to come inside.”

Councillor of Hyson Green Azad Choudhry said they “are doing everything they can” to support international stores in the area.

Some businesses were given grants to encourage the local economy amid difficult times.

Cllr Choudhry said: “We can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is very difficult to see how we’ll be moving forward without being in the EU.

“Due to coronavirus as well, we are aware that small businesses are having a hard time, but we are trying our best to support them.”

Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome added: “Small businesses like these have been a vital lifeline for our community throughout the pandemic, but far too many are not getting the help they need from government.

“They must be given comprehensive financial support so they can get through this exceptionally difficult period.”


Nottinghamshire Live – Local News