Businesses, retailers, pubs, bars and restaurants across Croydon are preparing to emerge from their covid-imposed “slumber” of the past four months – in some cases longer – as coronavirus restrictions are eased from Monday, April 12.
But many are having to adapt their business and the way that they trade in order to comply with the new rules and the circumstances that surround them.
Others still feel for their very existence, under rules which don’t allow them much scope to do business at all.
Ludoquist opened on the High Street in 2018 as a board games café, a proposition which is daunting to deliver in our new, masked, covid world. But the task of re-opening under the new regulations – with the possibility of serving drinks and food outside, with table service – has been rendered impossible for owner Nick Smith because of continuing building works on Mint Walk.
So with a speedy pivot, Ludoquist will re-open on Monday as “the best pop-up games shop London has ever seen”.
Smith confirmed the move in an email to regular customers this morning.
“Despite best efforts from the council’s Streets team, we are not going to be able to have outside tables as there are still building works ongoing on Mint Walk, where our outside tables normally are,” Smith said.
“This is disappointing, to say the least, but does mean that we have been able to spend the last while preparing what we like to think is going to be the best pop-up board games shop London has ever seen.
“We will also be selling coffee, beer, and snacks for takeaway, including as a guest coffee Croydon’s newest start-up, Dead Skull Coffee.”
Ludoquist’s mail order sales operation, expanded during lockdown, will also continue.
A short walk away, past the Flyover and down on to Wandle Road, can be found the tale of two pubs – one which will be able to trade under the new rules from next week, another which fears they may struggle to comply in any worthwhile manner.
Fuller’s pub The Royal Standard has had staff out cleaning and preparing the tables in its beer garden – positioned under the Croydon Flyover – which offers the business a lifeline of some trade in the weeks ahead.
Further along the same road to the Bull’s Head, a freehouse, and the management there are concerned that the old-style pub has no space to offer outside drinking. “There’s only a limited amount of space we are able to use,” a source told Inside Croydon.
“At best, we might be able to squeeze in three tables – I’m not sure that would be enough to make it worthwhile re-opening, even on warmer and sunny days when people might be prepared to sit outside.”
One of Croydon’s quirkier “non-essential retail” outlets, which has been particularly badly hit by lockdown, is preparing to re-open next Monday.
Forbidden Planet on Church Street, off Surrey Street market, claims to be the world’s largest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailer.
They say that they are the largest stockist of the latest comics, graphic novels and managing Britain.
Announcing their re-opening plans this morning, John Harrison of Forbidden Planet told Inside Croydon, “The safety of our customers and staff remains paramount. Social distancing, face coverings and other measures will be in place.
“But will be able to offer our usual extensive range of comics, books, toys, games and collectables.”
Forbidden Planet will be marking the occasion with special offers on a range of products, including “Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver and a huge selection of bargain books”.
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