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Independent businesses team up to put seats on city centre street

PUBLISHED: 13:14 18 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:32 18 June 2020

Artel Coffee Shop in Norwich has asked to put chairs and tables outside their establishment, as well as the neighbouring shoe shop. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Artel Coffee Shop in Norwich has asked to put chairs and tables outside their establishment, as well as the neighbouring shoe shop. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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Two independent businesses have teamed up in a bid to put more outdoor seating in a city centre street.

Marc Debieux of Bowhill & Elliott, which has collaborated with Artel. Picture:  Bowhill & ElliottMarc Debieux of Bowhill & Elliott, which has collaborated with Artel. Picture: Bowhill & Elliott

Café Artel in Norwich’s London Street has submitted a license application to the city council to have chairs put both outside their own establishment, and the neighbouring shoe shop Brownhill & Elliot.

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Marc Debieux, head of retail for the historic shoe shop and maker, said: “We agreed to the plans because we want to support other independent businesses. We know how important it is for cafes like Artel to get some more seating space outdoors so we were happy to help.”

The pair have also launched a deal for shoppers.

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“Because of social distancing we’re offering appointments to people, as well as having a reduced amount of people in the shop,” said Mr Debieux. “So we’ll be doing a deal for our customers having a coffee at Artel while they’re waiting for an appointment. Artel are also going to advertise us on the blackboards they’ll have at the end of the tables.

“Having seating outside our shop also means people having a drink at Artel are a captive audience for us, because they’ll be sat outside our shop window. It’s a bit quiet with some store closures down our end of London Street, so we need to work together to help each other through it.”

Mr Debieux welcomed this paper’s Love Local campaign, which encourages readers to spend within the local economy.

“It’s a different type of consumer that wants to support local business,” he said. “This sort of thing just sums it up – we want to support our community and we know our high street wouldn’t be worth having if we didn’t have lots of different businesses on it.”

Gabriella Davis, director at Artel Store, submitted the application, writing: “We would like to occupy the outdoor space as we adapt to life with Covid-19.”

The application requests three benches and two sets of tables and chairs to be put outside, as well as a window bench outside the Artel window.

This proposal – which practises social distancing between tables – is one of two options submitted by Ms Davis.

The other option – a future and long-term license request – asks for the same volume of seating to be approved but without social distancing in place.


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