I have been very happily living in Southwark for 6 months now. I'm very close to Great Suffolk Street and love all the small shops there - the Fruit Tree, Terry's Cafe, the butchers...
One thing that does make me unhappy though are the opening hours of these shops, particularly the Fruit Tree, which closes by 6pm. The earliest I get back home from work is 6.15pm. It means I can only go to the Fuit Tree for my fruit and veg on the weekend. Though that's not very difficult, I do prefer buying stuff every other day or so rather than for the week.
I understand they open really early in the morning (6am) and was thinking whether it would be better for their business and for customers like me if they opened from 7 am to 7 pm.
Just wondered if this had been raised before and what other people's thoughts were?
The dry cleaners, the barber shop, the betting shop, Terry's Cafe (on some evenings) and of course the Fish & Chip Shop all stay open later than normal.
For fruit & veges there is the new Co-Op just around the corner on Southwark Bridge Road. I've never personally shopped at The Fruit Tree, so I can't compare their prices with the Co-Op. However, I have been fairly impressed with the new Co-Op so far.
If enough people are interested in the shops opening later, I would certainly be happy to look into speaking to them.
I agree, it is a bit of a pain, but as small businesses they probably don't have the capacity for longer opening hours. It took me weeks to manage to get a key cut, as I never left work early enough. While we could just get out of bed earlier, the reality is that we won't and I like to do shopping on the way home, to avoid carrying it around work.
I always stop at The Fruit Tree on the way home on the few occasions I am out of work early, as I like to support local shops. A 6.30pm closing could well get them quite a few more customers, but they could also find they are doing longer hours for just a few people.
As Zoe said, I prefer shopping at local shops, but I have to often go to the co-op for fruits and veg because the Fruit Tree closes so early (I used to live near Caledonian Road and there was lovely local fruit and veg shop there which was open from 7am to 11pm, so I suppose I am a bit spoilt!)
I have mentioned to the people who work there that it's a bit inconvenient that they close at 6pm but haven't ever got much of a reaction. It made me wonder if I'm one of only a handful of people who feel so. I imagine if there are more people, we could talk to them collectively.
The Fruit Tree is owned by the same people who own the sandwich bar and bakery, so it's probably best to go in there and ask to speak to one of the owners. The lady who works in The Fruit Tree is an employee, so would be unlikely to be a position to make any decision on extended opening hours. I suspect, though, that as they already have such a long day, they may not see the need to open later in the evening.
Thanks for all the replies. I'll try to talk to them this weekend. I'm not suggesting that they work longer hours, I think they could do with opening a bit later, not sure how many customers they get at 6 in the morning.