Retail has returned to Hull’s Fruit Market, with delighted traders re-opening their doors to offer a safe shopping experience to customers.
While several businesses have continued to trade online during the lockdown and The Store On Pier Street has remained open throughout, other shops were forced to close.
Now, independent retailers in Humber Street have returned with safety measures in place, including hand sanitiser stations, contactless payments, two-metre socially distanced floor markings, one-way systems and limits on shopper capacity.
Traders say they are thrilled to be able to return.
Riccardo Seaton, owner of Poorboy Boutique, celebrated the store’s return by offering a 50 per cent discount to NHS staff until Sunday.
He said: “It’s very exciting to be back. The Fruit Market is very special for us and it’s great to see our customers again.
“We’ve been here from the beginning and it’s very close to our hearts. It’s an up-and-coming,
vibrant place with so much diversity and local independent businesses creating a great vibe. I have every confidence we’ll continue to flourish.”
Alice Thomson, co-owner of Form Shop & Studio, said: “We have a lot of regulars who we haven’t seen for months and it will be lovely to catch up and thank them for sticking by us and ordering online during lockdown.
“The Fruit Market is where we started and where we continue to grow. Every new business that sets up here becomes part of the family. We’re getting straight back to work and planning for the future again, making it as easy and as comfortable as possible for our customers to return.”
Shaun Barker-Newton, owner of 19point4, said: “Things are a bit different and it’s a learning curve for all of us, but there’s a great support network in the Fruit Market and it’s brilliant to have the community back together.”
The return of retail activity comes as a growing number of cafés, restaurants and bars in the Fruit Market are now providing takeaway and collection services as they await the go-ahead from the Government to return to full trading.
Takeaway and/or dine at home offers are now being provided by Nibble, The Minerva, Humber Street Distillery Co, Taphouse Brewpub, Humber Fish Co, Thieving Harry’s and Ambiente Tapas.
The return of the Fruit Market commercial community has been backed by Wykeland Beal, the joint venture leading the regeneration of the area, working in partnership with Hull City Council. Support has included financial assistance and guidance and advice to all the area’s traders to enable them to withstand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with The Store On Pier Street, which is open 9am-6.30pm Mondays to Saturdays and 10am-4.30pm on Sundays, shops that have re-opened in Humber Street are:
19point4: 11am-4pm, Wednesdays to Sundays, selling womenswear, accessories and menswear.
Form Shop & Studio: 11am-4pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,
selling art prints, cards and stationery.
Poorboy Boutique: 11am-4pm, Thursdays to Sundays, selling vintage and retro
clothing and accessories.
Tessies: Open 11am-4pm, Thursdays to Sundays, selling clothing, jewellery and accessories.
Ghost Orchid Bride bridal boutique: Appointments only, from Wednesdays to
Plant & Paint: Continuing to operate a delivery and click and collect service, as well as welcoming customers to “shop from the doorway” from 12pm-5pm on Saturdays and 1pm-5pm on Sundays, selling house plants, plantware and decorative paint.
Tom Watson, chartered development surveyor at Wykeland Group, said: “It’s great to see the fantastic independent retailers in Humber Street open once more.
“They have all proven to be tremendously resilient in responding to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, including by launching innovative online services and now adapting their shops to create a safe and welcoming environment for customers to return.
“We know these businesses have been really missed by their loyal customers and we’re sure shoppers will give them their fullest support now they are back open.”
Work is now underway to open a new pay and display shoppers’ car park on the site of the former Pepi’s nightclub in Humber Place.
Construction is also well advanced on major developments that will bring hundreds of new workers into the urban village. A state-of-the-art new head office for Arco, a 350-space multi-storey car park and a sister building for the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) tech hub are all due to be completed by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the new footbridge over Castle Street is also due to open this summer, providing a new gateway to the Fruit Market and Marina areas and attracting more visitors to the city’s waterfront.
Mr Watson added: “The Fruit Market is a very special place to visit and enjoy, with an exceptionally strong community spirit. That will be very much in evidence as the area once again becomes the vibrant community it was before the lockdown.
“There’s lots to look forward to, with hundreds more workers moving into the area soon, an ever-growing residential community and the footbridge over Castle Street also due to open.”