Behind London’s shopfronts, lockdown forces tough calculations
The merchants of Exmouth Market, a two-block stretch of central London known for its bustling food stalls and independent shops, have no answers. Their street is near silent but for birdsong.
“I’ve anticipated a lot in my life,” said Gareth Kerr, who closed his popular sports pub in March and sent home a dozen bartenders and cooks. “But coronavirus wasn’t one of them.”
“The not knowing is the worst,” said Charles Perkins, whose East Central Cycles shop has been deemed essential by a city desperate to divert passengers from infection-conducive trains and buses. “I’m open, but I can’t make plans. This is the time of year when I’d be buying for next year. But production is messed up. Shipping is completely messed up. And I can’t decide to sign contracts if I don’t know the cash flow.”
The shops of Exmouth Market, like small businesses in many countries around the world, are trying to reinvent themselves for the pandemic era and beyond, and they’re agonizing about whether they’ll make it …continued .
[Source: Washington Post]