Features / coronavirus

15 photos of Bristol’s retailers during lockdown

By francis peppett, Tuesday Jun 23, 2020

We’re Still Here which documents independent retailers, restaurants and cafes across Bristol who are still trading despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Francis Peppett has been photographing the people behind the storefront, and learning about their stories.

Tom from Reg the Veg in Clifton: “I’ve had the business since 2009, but the building has been a greengrocer, general store and even a butchers, many years ago. Lockdown has been challenging – we put ourselves online almost overnight as it wasn’t feasible to take so many orders over the phone. Things have calmed down a bit now, and it’s nice to see people coming back to Clifton’s independent shops.”

Bayram from Kitchen of Anatolia in Castle Park: “Lockdown was tricky at first, but I’m really positive about the future, and I have plans to expand my business. I’d like to bring a real Turkish experience to the park – I’m looking at upgrading my food truck to a double decker bus, so the people of Bristol can enjoy Turkish tea and coffee on the top deck.”

Dimitar from Bulgarian Food Market on Old Market: “We have a strong community of loyal customers from all over Bristol, which has really helped during lockdown. We faced difficulties at first in getting food shipments over from Bulgaria, and we also had to make adaptations to the shop quickly. Things have eased a bit now, so we’re fully stocked of all our usual fresh produce.”

Nilesh and Sujeet from Coronation Curry House in Southville: “We had to change a lot of things quickly, and we do really miss having customers in our restaurant. Having a small floorspace means we’ll have to reimagine our space for when we can have people inside, but for now it’s nice to be busy for takeaways and delivery.”

Chris, Lewis and Sam from Farrows Fish & Chips in Totterdown: “During the first days of lockdown we didn’t trade as we weren’t sure what to do, but we then began a food truck that served fish and chips to local streets on Fridays and Saturdays. These were really popular, and it was nice to see the strength of the local community. We’re now back in the shop and feel optimistic for the future.”

Amanda from Flowers & Co in Bedminster: “We began trading again in early May, and were very busy as we were one of the first florists to open their doors again. The cancellations of a lot of weddings have been a bit of a blow, but it’s nice to have the shop back up and running again.”

Brian from Kelvins in Bedminster: “Recently a customer kindly brought us a photo that showed our shop has been a butcher since 1890. It’s been tough since lockdown, and we have seen a drop in sales. We’ve got inventive with things like meat boxes and a meat raffle and are optimistic trade will pick up going forward.”

Josephine from C&T Licata & Son Ltd in Montpelier: “We’re a family business that has been in Montpelier for over 60 years. We’ve adjusted things in the shop to remain compliant, and we were incredibly busy at first, with customers struggling to get their staples in the big supermarkets. Things have eased a bit now, and it’s nice to see people out and about in Montpelier.”

Sophie from Food by Sophie in St Nick’s Market: “The market isn’t at full capacity, but traders are slowly coming back which is nice to see. We’ve seen less trade, but it looks like things will pick up going forward. We still have regulars popping down for their lunch, which we’re really thankful for.”

Jey Jey from Avon News in Southville: “We only moved from London to Bristol this time last year, so haven’t had the shop long. We’ve actually been really busy since this all began, which has been good for us, but we know it has been tougher for others. Our shop is small which makes it tricky to move around, but we’ve made it work for us and our customers.”

Derek from Lion Stores in Southville: “The shop dates back to 1897, and used to be on East Street before it moved over to North Street. It’s been in our family since 1970, and we enjoy serving our community. Business has been mixed since lockdown, we’ve been busy when we’ve had stock, but on occasion things have been hard to source which has impacted things.”

Brett and Tom from Bakers & Co. on Gloucester Road: “We’ve had to get really creative and rethink what we do with the premises. We made and sold frozen meals, sold pantry goods and our now focusing our energy on our capabilities as a bakery. Times have definitely been hard, but we’re focusing on getting things right.”

David from El Colmado on Gloucester Road: “I’ve been here since 2012, and whilst food is not my background, it’s definitely been my passion. The shops had an online presence since the beginning, which helped when lockdown began. I’ve definitely been busy, and doing my own deliveries, but it’s been so nice to see the community come together in these times.”

Wayne from Cafe Conscious in Barton Hill: “We began six years ago, and have focused on making our café somewhere that uses free trade and organic produce, and also doubles as a community hub. We like to host youth workshops around music and art therapy, and really want our main purpose to be our social contribution. Business has definitely been challenging, but it’s nice to be open and sending out food to our customers.”

Hannah from Big Bao in Broadmead: “This is my first shop since moving from Vietnam to Bristol. We’ve just installed a touch and go payment system for our customers, which really helps with retaining social distancing. Trade has definitely dropped, but we’re confident and optimistic for our business going forward.”

All photos: Francis Peppett

Read more: 23 photos of lockdown in Bristol

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