A businessman who claims he was ‘run’ out of London by the 2012 Olympics has set up shop in Bradford looking for a fresh start – selling fruit and vegetables.
Irfan Khan, whose Ilford greengrocery lost out on trade when Games organisers re-routed traffic and pedestrians to by-pass his shop, hopes importing the £1-a-bowl idea from the capital will get his till ringing in Market Street, where he opened this week.
Despite his prime location right next to bus stops, Mr Khan said he will not be selling sweets or cigarettes – even if that’s what the customers want.
“I’d make a fortune if I gave in and sold stuff like that but that’s not what this shop is about. The idea is to keep everything healthy and hope we can help freshen up this part of town.”
He added: “Small businesses like us around the Olympic sites were promised big things but it just never happened. People never came, probably because they made our street one-way and just took away all the footfall. We just couldn’t survive there.”
Mr Khan decided to re-locate to Bradford after noticing a lot of empty shops in the city centre during visits to family and friends.
“I’d been looking all over for somewhere to start over since London and found here – it’s a great spot. People probably won’t remember the last time a fruit and veg shop opened right in the middle of a city centre but we think it’s going to be appreciated. The response we’ve had from everyone so far has been very healthy.
“People like the bowl idea. It’s already popular in London but it’s new here. People know if they’ve just got £1 in their pocket they can come in and pick up something healthy.”
Fraiche fruit and veg gets its supplies regularly from St James Market and Mr Khan says he will expand the range as the business grows and he gets to know his customers’ tastes.
The shop, which had been shut for about one year, had formerly been a dry cleaners, a charity shop and a book shop.
“We’ve done our homework and it’s a straightforward business idea. Give people what they want. There was a gap for fresh produce in this part of the city centre and it’s affordable. People have to stick to budgets and only want to buy what they want and won’t waste. They can do that here.”
Chamber of Trade secretary Val Summerscales said: “It’s an excellent idea. It’ll be a boon to people at that end of town wanting fresh food and we welcome his entrepreneurial spirit.”