In a recent interview with Palatinate, the owners of Claypath Delicatessen highlighted the impact of university students on Durham’s economy, especially in a time where so many local stores and businesses are struggling.
Despite the closure of several stores and businesses in Durham due to lockdown regulations, Roy and Angela Handy said that their 10-year-old store made some of its best gains during the pandemic. As a bakery, they were able to stay open as an essential business and have adapted well to social distancing rules.
Students make up half of the deli’s customers, and the owners noted that for many of them, going to the deli was a way of getting away from the house. “It’s a day out,” said Angela, “we’ve been quite good for people who want to get out, get a loaf of bread, have a bit of a chat, and have some normality.”
Roy stressed the positive impact that students have on Durham shops, saying that “they bring a large part of the economy to the city, it’s bringing money from further away in the UK. But it’s also bringing in money from abroad, which then gets spent in the local economy.”
The success comes amid rough times for Durham’s economy. According to research from the Local Data Company, more than twenty stores and businesses have closed permanently in the last six months, and with lockdown regulations preventing smaller, non-essential shops from functioning, the majority of sales have gone to larger chain shops.
However, the deli owners spoke optimistically about a post-lockdown future: “There’s going to be a backlash from all of this once people can do what they want to do. Where you might have passed on an opportunity, or said you were too tired, you won’t in the future.”
Located on the end of Claypath Street, the deli is further away from the city centre than other cafes, but the owners have used third-party services like Deliveroo to counter this.
Information about the Claypath Delicatessen can be found at https://www.facebook.com/claypathdeli.
Illustration: Jasmine Cash