Shop Local: New greengrocers open as families turn to neighbourhood shops for fresh food
- Credit: Daniel Gayne
Two new greengrocers have opened in Islington, supplying housebound locals with high-quality fruit and vegetables.
Avoman, in Upper Street, and Green Valley, in Chapel Market, both opened in recent weeks, taking advantage of rising demand for fresh produce.
Islington local Yusa Battal owns and runs Avoman, which he set up as a pop-up after Covid-19 set back his previous business venture.
Yusa had been importing Avocados from a Malaga farm, which belonged to the family of his business partner, Carlos Navas.
After taking over the business for last year’s avocado season (November to May), Spanish Avo quickly became supplier to clients including private members clubs Soho House and Annabel’s.
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In March, the pandemic brought business to a sudden stop.
Yusa said: “I had lots of Avocado on my hands and I didn’t want to waste them, so I said, you know what, let’s open a shop and let’s sell individually.”
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Upper Street restaurant Gallipoli, whose owner Enver Ugar is a close friend of Yusa, allowed them to run the pop-up out of the closed restaurant, while friends at Greens of Highgate helped introduce them to the best fresh produce vendors.
Avoman now sells a mix of these high-quality British vegetables, but Yusa’s own Spanish avocados and mangoes are still their speciality.
He said: “That’s why we created this character who looks like Johnny Bravo, and we name it Avoman.”
When Gallipoli returns after lockdown, Avoman expects to move down the road to 87 Upper Street, where Yusa hopes to stay for many years.
He promises locals that he will “make the cutest shop in Upper Street from 2021”.
Chapel Market has also seen the addition of a new grocer in the form of Green Valley, a family-run store which opened on Monday.
Staff member Hassen said it was “quite difficult” to launch a business during the pandemic but that local people were enjoying the store’s high-quality produce and low prices.
Avoman can be found online at https://avoman.co.uk/