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Camden Passage shops reopen after Upper Street floods – but must make up for 6 months of lost time

PUBLISHED: 15:15 01 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 01 June 2017

Steven Cooper, owner of Pistachio and Pickle in Camden Passage. Picture: James Morris

Steven Cooper, owner of Pistachio and Pickle in Camden Passage. Picture: James Morris

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Two traders made an emotional return to Camden Passage today – six months after their neighbouring shops were devastated by the Upper Street flooding.

Jacqueline Bulmer, owner of In-Residence in Camden Passage. Picture: James MorrisJacqueline Bulmer, owner of In-Residence in Camden Passage. Picture: James Morris

Cheesemaker Pistachio and Pickle and home accessory shop In-Residence were among the businesses forced to close in December. A burst pipe caused millions of pounds of damage.

Both shops’ basements and stock were ruined by the flood. But they were finally able to reopen on Thursday.

Steven Cooper, who opened the cheese shop in 2014, said this afternoon: “It feels amazing to be back in the Passage again.”

The flood occurred at the worst possible time for Steven. He explained: “The cheese had been maturing, and was nearly ready in time for Christmas. It’s our busiest time of year. It’s what we gear up for and what keeps us going through January.

“It was awful seeing the damage that day. I saw all my fridges and stock floating around in the basement.

“And it wasn’t just about losing out on Christmas trade, we had plans for growth during these six months. Insurance money can only go so far, so that time has been lost.”

But he stressed: “It feels wonderful to be back. We’ve had a lot of interest on social media, and everyone on the Passage has welcomed us back. It’s been really uplifting.”

It was also particularly bad timing for Jacquline Bulner, owner of In-Residence next door. She had only opened the shop seven weeks before.

“The basement was completely ruined,” she recalled. “It was incredibly devastating. I had all my Christmas deliveries down there, and the stuff that survived couldn’t be used because it wasn’t seasonal.

“The worst thing was the length of time to reopen. People who know me will say by nature I am a ‘doer’. So sitting at home twiddling my thumbs for six months was hard.

“I felt quite nervous today, as it felt like I was opening the shop for the first time again. I’m six months behind on my business plan and that kind of thing can’t be compensated for.”

But she added: “It feels great to be back. Steve and I wanted to reopen on the same day. And the support from traders and local people has been brilliant – that’s what got us through this.”


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