How heartening to see that Bermondsey’s premier market is now so popular that customers are hiring Boris Bikes to journey there and back home again! At the cost of £1 for the first hour, increasing to £10 for two and a half hours, cycling to Spa Terminus on one of the ubiquitous London bikes ain’t cheap, especially when you’re paying Spa Terminus prices for your weekly produce.
Thankfully, at least one outlet believes that bargains make Bermondsey business sense. Located in a railway arch in the Voyager Business Estate, South East Fruits trades to the public every Saturday. Their uniqueness lies in the fact that they price their goods low and pile them high - austerity prices for an area populated by some of Britain’s poorest yet hardworking people.
But, therein lies the problem: how appropriate is it to site a 'people's market' for the few at the heart of a working-class community populated by the many? 12 satsumas and a punnet of juicy white Spanish grapes, both priced at £1, is more than affordable. 100g of ‘champignons’ for a fiver is not.
While Spa Terminus (or Spa Road as many local Bermondsey families will always call it) is a jewel in the Bermondsey crown, and a welcome addition to the Spa area, it is missing a trick by excluding so many local families, as it prices its products into another stratosphere. We have written about this issue before, and South East Fruits notwithstanding, we see little evidence of any reduction in prices or broadening product ranges to suit all prices. Social exclusion does not create highly profitable businesses.
So thank you to those who support the local business community by freewheeling along Frean Street, or back pedalling down Bermondsey Street on their Boris Bikes to shop in our beloved Spa Road. You bring vibrancy, charm and cash to our area. However, the time has now come for these local businesses to work harder to include all of the local community, old as well as nouveau Bermondsey, in the Spa Terminus experience. After all, we’re experiencing difficult financial times - we should all be in this together.
South East Fruits
Barclays Cycle Hire (Boris Bikes)
|Food outlets in Spa Terminus, Spa Road|
|Carrington Brown florist|
|What's behind the blue door? Spa Terminus!|