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Hockley businesses banking on revival as people head back to the shops again

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

The area in Nottingham city centre is filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants and has a culture driven by independent businesses.

Last month it was also named as one of the 12 ‘coolest postcodes to move to in 2022’ by The Times thanks to its graffiti murals, indie spots and music venues.

But, as with all areas, under the previous coronavirus restrictions, shops in Hockley have had to struggle.

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

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

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

“Particularly last weekend with it being pay day, despite being further out than the other White Roses in the city,” he added.

“I’m excited but apprehensive. I’m not sure whether it’ll be plain sailing, but summer is usually our busiest period at White Rose, especially with lots of footfall brought from the outside seating that bars and cafes offer in Hockley.”

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

“At the start of January, we were taking about £70 a day, whereas now we’ve been 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 be like. But I’m enjoying it a lot more now restrictions have eased – days don’t drag.”

Brandon, 21, also said that he’s noticed an increase of elderly people coming to the café.

“Older people are usually big clientele for coffee shops, so although they’re still having to wear masks and be careful, it’s nice to see them living their lives again,” he added.

Braderie, a vintage shop on Pelham Street, has noticed a decrease in footfall recently.

Chantal Kennedy, shop manager at Braderie, said: “With two new vintage stores open in town, there’s more direct competition. But it’s always up and down in retail.”

She said she hopes the nature of vintage shopping will work in its favour.

“It’s a tactile shopping experience. There might be boredom with online shopping as it was all that people could do, but now people are even shopping just for the pure experience of it,” said Chantal, 36.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Chantal, adding that she did not find business had dipped too much even in the earlier stages of tighter restrictions.

That positivity was also echoed by one shopper, who was keen for life to continue to regain some sort of normality again, especially visiting public areas.

“This variant doesn’t seem as bad as the last one, and with being jabbed 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, just like everyone else.”

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