The man who was forced to move his flower stall from Derby’s Albion Street has expressed his gratitude for the support he has received from the public.
Jonathan Foster was forced out of his old position by Derby City Council recently and told to set up shop on the neighbouring East Street. TK Maxx is opening a new store in Albion Street near Mr Foster’s old pitch and the council revealed that the high street chain said his relocation was a condition of them moving in.
Mr Foster was worried about a possible drop in sales due to the move but he told the Derby Telegraph that the sales weren’t as badly affected as he had expected.
Mr Foster put this down to the publicity that he received over the move and from the petition that was set up a few days ago by George Hanton, of Shelton Lock.
This petition reached 13,000 signatures in just two days and currently sits at around 14,500.
Mr Foster was very grateful towards the people who signed the petition and offered their support on the street in person. He said: “It’s been pretty busy here actually. The pitch here seems to be as good as any for business but you can really feel the cold here.
“It’s very windy but it will be even worse in the winter. It will be terribly cold then. Plus the security here isn’t great. It’s doubled the ways that shoplifters can come and go from.
Jonathan Foster’s former patch – now empty – in Albert Street
“This isn’t a major issue but I’ve seen people cause trouble a few times.
“I’ve not really felt a drop in sales thanks to the publicity that I received and the petition that people sent out. I think everyone who signed it really cares and I’d like to thank everyone so much for their signatures.
“So many people are coming up and asking me if I’m all right and showing their support, it’s really nice.
Jonathan Foster has been selling flowers on Albion Street for 23 years
“Unfortunately, we’re just a casualty of big businesses moving into the area.”
Mr Foster’s wife, Sara, told us that she didn’t blame the council: “I know the money from TK Maxx needs to come into the city but why does the business need to tie the council’s hands like this?
“We don’t blame the council because we know they don’t have a choice and they’ve been very, very helpful in the past. We blame TK Maxx: why did they put the council in that position in the first place?”
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Our reporter Yasmin Parveen spoke to people on the street about the issue.
Rolls-Royce manager John Clough, 54, of Mickleover, said: “There are lots of national shops here like Nationwide and they don’t mind the flower store being in front of them. It doesn’t block their entryway.”
Stephanie Wooly, 29, who works at nearby Accessorize, helped spread the petition and signed it. She said: “The flower stall has been there since I was a kid and now I’m 29. I feel so bad for him. Everybody knows him and even today we’ve had people in asking where he’s gone.
“The council should have been more lenient with their decision.”
Project manager Andrea Cliff, 47, added: “What’s happened here is wrong. It should be small businesses that win and he sells cheap flowers that we, as families, enjoy.”
TK Maxx declined to comment.
Source: Derby Telegraph