What is the difference between a place to live and a community? We believe it's the people who live and work in an area who make it.
Steeped in rich maritime history, home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known around the globe as the home of the Meridian Line, Greenwich has many strings to its bow.
After years of regeneration, it has become a vibrant destination with independent shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as several major landmarks, such as the Royal Observatory, National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark.
We spoke to some of the independent business owners in Greenwich to find out what makes this corner of South East London so unique.
Casbah Records has been trading since the 1980s, cutting its teeth on the famous Greenwich Market before moving to its current premises on Creek Road in 2009.
The store prides itself on being the only place in the Greenwich, Deptford and Charlton areas to sell new releases on vinyl and hosts local gigs throughout the year.
Owner Graham Davis has lived in the area for more than 30 years and has seen how Greenwich has been transformed over the decades.
Hi Graham. Why did you decide to open your store in Greenwich?
There had never been an independent record shop selling brand new releases here and since I live in the Royal Borough and love the area it never made any sense to move the business away.
Greenwich has undergone a lot of redevelopment in recent years. What has changed since you first came here?
The number of people who live in Greenwich has increased a lot, especially along Creek Road and the docks, which is nice because it builds the community and helps independent shops to thrive.
There was a time where traders like myself would spend all week preparing for the market on the weekend, but now there is demand all week and the area has become more prosperous.
Greenwich is a renowned location. What makes it so special to you?
You’re always surrounded by history in Greenwich. The big museums do a fantastic job of bringing that to life and the architecture really gives you the sense you’re living in an important part of the city.
Sophia & Matt
Sophia and Matt Savage started their handbags and accessories business - aptly named Sophia & Matt - in 2005, initially selling their products on Greenwich Market.
The couple’s merchandise proved to be a popular addition and 5 years later the pair opened their first store on Greenwich Church Street.
Following the successful launch of their first shop, the couple have since opened a second store in Brighton.
Hi Sophia. How did working on Greenwich Market allow you to develop the business into what it is today?
We got instant feedback from the market. If something didn’t sell we had to go back to the drawing board and redesign it, so we soon found out what our clients really wanted and tailored our range to suit their needs.
Why do you think Greenwich has proven so popular with homebuyers?
Greenwich is an affluent area, with lots to do on your doorstep. You’re right on the Thames here and you have nice restaurants and cafes and the DLR makes travelling a breeze.
There are not many places in London that offer huge green parks and interesting museums in a space which caters to a wide demographic. We get a mix of commuters and new families who have moved to the area popping into the store.
What is your favourite thing about Greenwich?
Both the market and Greenwich Park have a special place in my heart. I grew up in nearby Welling and as a family we used to visit Greenwich Park every Sunday, and I still love to stroll through it today.
Since opening just over 10 years ago, Meet Bernard has established itself as a thriving fashion hub popular with locals and visitors alike.
Greenwich locals Ryan and Daniela Chandler took over the store in 2015 with a desire to champion quality London brands. With 5 local brands currently in its collection, including Country of Origin and Wingback Wallets, the pair have their hearts set on showcasing more London-made products.
The store hosts gents' lock-ins and ladies’ nights throughout the year and also shares fashion trends for all seasons on the company’s online journal.
Hi Ryan. How has Greenwich attracted more people to the area?
There’s a new breed of South East Londoner settling down here since the DLR arrived in Greenwich. More people have cottoned on to the advantages of living in this area.
Greenwich is quite like its own little village, which is unique considering how close it is to Central London. There’s a lot less traffic here, lots of locals supporting the independent shops and there’s lots of beautiful green space.
The store prides itself on championing local brands. How do you choose which brands to stock?
Ultimately, it’s got to be something which we really like and would wear ourselves. Price and quality are of upmost importance, so we look to find that happy balance.
When we took over Meet Bernard there were no London brands stocked and now we have 5 and I feel the Greenwich and wider London community enjoy buying something made close to home.
What advice would you have for someone looking to move in to the area?
If you need to get to somewhere on the banks of the Thames, like Canary Wharf or London Bridge for example, try using the River Bus and Thames River Services. They leave from the Cutty Sark and are cheap and more scenic ways of travelling.
Could you see yourself becoming part of the community in Greenwich?
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