A petition to stop a flower stall and its owner from being removed from Derby’s Albion Street has reached 13,000 signatures in just two days.
Locals have also said that they are planning on boycotting the new TK Maxx which has struck a deal forcing Jonathan Foster out of his current spot.
Mr Foster says that the council is forcing him to move his stall to the neighbouring East Street where he is likely to lose customers.
This is part of an agreement between the authority and TK Maxx after the latter set the repositioning of the stall as a prerequisite to their moving in.
People commenting on the Derby Telegraph website and on the change.org page which hosts the petition are mostly in favour of Jonathan’s right to stay in the spot.
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Kathryn Joynes, who signed the petition, said: “This gentleman is not posing any threat to TK Maxx and should be allowed to stay on the pitch. He’s been trading for over 20 years. In my opinion it’s snobbery on the part of TK Maxx.”
Cathy Mansell also signed the petition. She said: “We should be supporting the local independent traders. He’s worked tirelessly through good and bad times in the same location for all of those years.
“I cannot see how him being there could possibly effect any other business? Is he really a threat to such a large company?”
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A few people pointed out that the move is only to the next street. One comment read: “What’s all the fuss, he only has to move a few steps.”
Another stated: “I really can’t see what all the fuss is about; it’s a grubby stall far removed from any other such outlet and is incongruous with the surrounds and disrupts the footfall in the area.”
Jonathan was humbled by the comments he received: “Reading them, so many are supportive. It’s just unbelievable.
“This is all about the principle. I’ve been on that street in that spot for 23 years now and it really shows that I’ve been a part of the city.
“I’ve had people come up to me in town recently wishing me good luck and saying that they hope it all goes well. I talk to everyone around the area; it’s what I do. It’s baffled me why TK Maxx don’t want me anywhere near their doors.
“It doesn’t seem right them demanding that I leave. It’s the principle behind it that I don’t like.”
The petition was created on Saturday, September 30, and will be sent to Derby City Council and TK Maxx upon completion.
23-year-old George Hanton of Shelton Lock is a local warehouse operative and is the man behind the petition’s creation.
George Hanton was compelled to action after reading the article in the Derby Telegraph (Image: George Hanton)
He said that he wanted to organise support for the flower stall owner: “I didn’t know anything about this until I read the Derby Telegraph articlle.
“I don’t know the owner personally, but I thought that something needs to be done.
“Jonathan Foster has been there for 20-odd years whereas TK Maxx has already abandoned Derby once before. The council shouldn’t just accept demands like that.
“They are elected to represent the people of Derby but this is harming them to help a big business.
“I left the petition on Saturday night at around 250 signatures which I thought was great. When I woke up in the morning it had hit around 3,000.
“The store isn’t going to obscure access to the shop. Moving him is actually going to take business away from the area as many people say they go to that street to specifically buy flowers from him.
“I’ve had many people commenting on my Facebook posts and the petition saying that they are now going to boycott TK Maxx because of this.
TK Maxx is on course to open its new Derby city centre store in early 2018
“People have commented with some stories about the flower stall: one woman used to come to the stall regularly with her mum to buy flowers for her dad’s grave. When the mum also died, the daughter continued to go to the stall to buy flowers for her grave too.
“I don’t think that they’ll move him back to his original position but I think that they should, at the bare minimum, make people aware of his new location.”
When asked by the Derby Telegraph, TK Maxx said they refused to comment on their business activities as part of a longstanding policy.
You can access the petition here.
Source: Derby Telegraph