After 20 years in Wellington Way, Waterlooville Fruiterers owner Andy Price has seen the area around his business fall into ‘dilapidation’ filled with empty shop fronts.
Andy said that ‘Wellington Way is no longer a setting for a nice shopping experience’, and added: ‘Our lease came to an end in Wellington Way, and we could have stayed.
‘We’ve faced a lot of uncertainty and with the area in a state of disrepair, the only alternative was moving.’
Fitting has already begun at the new shop at 121/123 London Road, which will open to customers on Monday, March 28.
As previously reported by The News, the greengrocers suffered significant footfall loss, seeing about 50 per cent less customers in comparison to business before Covid.
This was put down to the ‘dilapidated’ state of Wellington Way, where only around 20 per cent of premises are occupied - although a council representative promised that the street had been identified in the local plan as a site appropriate for ‘high-quality, high-density residential development’.
However, Andy is optimistic about the future of his business now that it is moving to a more central location.
He said: ‘We’re looking forward to having a bigger unit in an area where footfall will be significantly better.
‘Seeing the response and feedback from people certainly gives us grounds for encouragement. There’s a risk but hopefully it all goes well.’
The Waterlooville Fruiterers store in Wellington Way will stay open up to and including Saturday, March 26.
Andy added: ‘We’re hoping that customers will find the shop more attractive to come in and shop, we’re going for a nice wood effect.
‘Hopefully they’ll enjoy coming in and selecting their own fresh fruit and vegetables.
‘We’re looking forward to welcoming our customers who have been with us for the last 20 years and hopefully see many new faces when we open on Monday.’
The business is around 95 per cent plastic free, and prides itself on enabling customers to select their own produce.