The Fruit Market retail community is welcoming back customers who have been missing their shopping trips to the waterfront urban village.
While several Fruit Market businesses have continued to trade online during the lockdown and the Store On Pier Street has remained open throughout, selling essential items and serving the local community, other shops were forced to close.
Now, independent retailers in Humber Street have reopened with safety measures in place, including hand sanitiser stations, contactless payments, two-metre socially distanced floor markings, one-way systems and limits on shoppers allowed inside at any one time.
Traders say they are thrilled to be able to return to Humber Street, reconnect as a community and welcome customers back after being closed for three months.
Riccardo Seaton, owner of Poorboy Boutique, celebrated the store’s return by offering a 50% discount to NHS staff on all purchases from today 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 in person 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 and Joseph Cox, co-owners of Form Shop & Studio, are also enjoying seeing their loyal customers again.
Alice (left) said: “We’ve missed them. 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.”
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 reopened in Humber Street are:
19point4 (right) – Open 11am-4pm, Wednesdays to Sundays, selling womenswear, accessories and menswear.
Form Shop & Studio – Open 11am-4pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, selling art prints, cards and stationery.
Poorboy Boutique (below) – Open 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 is also open for appointments, from Wednesdays to Saturdays.
House plants, plantware and decorative paint store Plant & Paint is 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.
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 green light 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 of commercial developer Wykeland Group and housebuilder Beal Homes, which is leading the regeneration of the area, working in partnership with Hull City Council. This support has included offering financial assistance and valuable guidance and advice to all the area’s traders to enable them to withstand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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.
“Many of the cafés, restaurants and bars in the Fruit Market have also introduced takeaway and collection services, which have proven really popular, and we’re looking forward to these businesses also being able to welcome customers through their doors again within the next few weeks.”
In readiness for the resumption of trading, work is under way to open a new pay and display shoppers’ car park on the site of the former Pepi’s nightclub, opposite Tasty café in Humber Place.
The reopening of businesses also comes at an exciting time for the Fruit Market, with construction 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.”