WE’RE back in business. Those were the words of joy from best pals Chrissy Bryant and Stephanie Willis as they reopened their traditional greengrocers in Havant town centre.
The pair were devastated after being forced to shut their shop, located in an old stables in West Street, before Christmas after 15 years of trade.
It came as the property, which also includes Davies Chemist, was bought by a new landlord.
It was the end of the era for Havant town centre, which has had an independent greengrocers since Victorian times. But, in an age dominated by big supermarkets, the pair refused to give in.
They have moved Havant Fruit and Flowers to the Meridian Centre and there was delight yesterday as shoppers browsed through the colourful stalls.
Mrs Bryant, 39, who lives in Waterlooville, said: ‘It’s really fantastic.
‘Everyone has been saying how lovely it looks.
‘People are saying it’s good to see us back.
‘Apparently a lot of them cried when we closed.
‘They are crying tears of joy now.’
Mrs Willis, 57, from Purbrook, said: ‘It’s brilliant.
‘It’s certainly a lot warmer and we don’t have to get wet any more!
‘We need to keep the old traditions going.’
Shopper Valerie Gough, 70, from Leigh Park, said: ‘I like independent shops.
‘I use independent butchers and independent grocers.’
Janet Willis, 67, of Barncroft Way, Bedhampton, said: ‘It’s very good.
‘I didn’t think they would be back.
‘I like to get one or two greens – you can’t do that in other shops.
‘We need these little shops in Havant. I have used this for years.’
Mrs Bryant tried an office job for a few weeks while the shop was closed, but said she missed the banter with customers.
She said: ‘I am a bubbly, energetic person and I just missed it.
‘No two days are the same when you are here.’
The old stables remains an empty unit for the time being, but it is understood the new landlord may be carrying out some renovations. Davies Chemist will remain.