A fruit seller has come out fighting in response to news a supermarket will be moving into his shopping parade later this year.
Sainsbury’s is set to open a new store in Ham Parade, on the border between Kingston and Ham, in a unit left empty by Barclays bank.
Barclays has announced it is closing its Ham branch on June 27, and a spokesman for the bank confirmed today that Sainsbury’s would be taking over the site.
A cash point would be kept at the new store.
But while some traders and shoppers feared the supermarket’s arrival would sound the death knell for small businesses in the parade, Steve Whiting, owner of Ham Fruiterers, welcomed the challenge.
Mr Whiting, who took over the family business from his father, said: “It’s good news that they’re keeping the cash point, and from my point of view I don’t think they can compete with me for quality and price.
“I know a few other traders who have had supermarkets come on top of them and they said it can actually do you a favour.
“If it brings more footfall to the parade then it might bring me more customers, and I don’t mind standing up against them.”
Other traders were not as optimistic as Mr Whiting.
Trevor Ellison, owner of R Tucker butchers, said: “My lease is up for renewal at the end of this year and that just might be the final nail in the coffin.
“It would devastate the parade. Little shops like me will go out of business, simple as that.
“Barclays obviously don’t care. Losing the bank is one thing, but to sell to a supermarket is a real kick in the teeth.”
There are also concerns that the loss of Barclays would make it difficult for traders to carry out business transactions.
Richmond councillor Sir David Williams, ward member for Ham and Petersham, said: “This is a serious blow for our businesses and shops.
“How on earth are small businesses supposed to get banking facilities if the nearest places are congested Richmond and Kingston where they cannot park?
“I am really devastated about it.”