The range of small, independent shops in Crouch End is one of the best things about living in Crouch End. Crouch Enders say so.
There are about 200 shop units on the streets that radiate out from the Clock Tower (apart from the banks, charity shops and pubs) most of them are small independent businesses.
This glowing tribute is not uncommon (although one written in French certainly is!) and residents and visitors regularly tell the Forum that the shops are one of the reasons why they like the area so much – Dunn’s, Broadway Fruiterers, Purkis, Bishops, and many others could have easily made it sur le list. The electrical appliances shop opposite the Post Office continues to get rave reviews and bunting was put out to welcome the return of the bookshop on the Broadway.
We also have plenty of the larger chains: the major coffee brands are here as well as Subway, Oddbins, Specsavers, Boots (that looks sicker than many of its customers!) as well as several national supermarkets. Waitrose has recently had its queues tamed by the arrival of an increasingly popular Co op while M&S continues to fill Crouch End freezers with a bewildering array of ready meals. A Superdrug on the site of the Weatherspoons will be open by the end of the month.
Compared to many other high streets, Crouch End is surviving well. Rents continue to be sky high and the churn of old for new businesses seems to have increased but the vacancy rate of units (what is happening at Bouga!!) is low.
Let Us Know
So, has Crouch End cracked the balance
- between the day-time and night-time economy,
- between coffee shops and proper shops and
- between independents and nationals?
What do we have too many of and what are we lacking (no, a tube station is not an answer)? Should we leave it to the market to decide how the centre develops or should we use planning too encourage the sort of shops we need/want? If so, how?