“I opened my flower shop in Walthamstow Village 15 years ago and nobody was here. Now people are lining up outside the door’
Strolling through the charming streets of Walthamstow Village on a bright sunny day, you wouldn’t be wrong to think this was a patch of domestic bliss. Local florist Edna Kim carried the potted plants outside her flower shop on Orford Road inside while her colleague attended to their last customers of the day.
Edna, barely taller than some of the plants she was carrying, is a friendly face to anyone passing by. Despite looking tiny from the outside, her shop was actually quite spacious. It was like a mini jungle with a few clear paths for customers to move around.
READ MORE: 9 things only people who grew up in Walthamstow in the 1980s and 1990s will remember
“No one came here when I opened 15 years ago”
But it wasn’t always a bed of roses for her, as she explained when she moved to the Village 15 years ago. She says: “I opened my florists on Mother’s Day in 2007. I was invited to open a flower shop here by another trader down the street because at the time there were no was nothing like it around, and how can you have a village without a florist?
“They said they needed a flower shop to help revive the village. When I came here, the place was a dump. No one came here and there were only two stores open, but now there are plenty.
But in the 15 years that Edna has been based in Walthamstow Village, she has seen a lot of change. She explained, “There were a lot of families living here who left. Some tenants left because rents got too high and landlords sold when the price of their properties started to rise.
“That was after 2012. Before that you could buy a house here for around £300,000, but now they’re around £1million.”
She added: “There are a lot of new people here, like city yuppies and hipsters, but they sleep here. They don’t really live here in the sense that they have a connection to the community. They just spend in front everyday and don’t even say hello. They don’t care. They never come just to take a look or buy something.
Like many other merchants I spoke to in the village that day, Edna also noted the number of stores that had opened and closed during her stay on Orford Road. Some changes were still visibly underway, with the East London Sausage Company butcher’s shop a few shops away from Edna’s flower shop being refurbished and turned into a cafe.
Neighboring shopkeepers told MyLondon the landlord moved his business to Waltham Abbey after rising rent prices in Walthamstow Village meant keeping the butcher’s shop open on Orford Road no longer made financial sense. Edna’s shop still seems to be doing well despite the rising costs of running a business in Walthamstow Village, but she is aware that the area isn’t what it once was.
She said: “I was encouraged to come here and help save the village, but a lot of people who were here then are no longer here. I may have helped save the village, but I couldn’t do anything for the families who lived here.
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