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Photograph: Alarmy Stock Photo
Photograph: Alarmy Stock Photo

Local Lifesavers: readers reveal the local shops that got them through 2020

The cornershops that kept Londoners’ cupboards fully stocked during lockdown

By Kate Lloyd
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Over the past few weeks, we’ve asked top London chefs to celebrate the cornershops, mini-supermarkets and delis that got them through lockdown. Now Time Out readers have their say. They’ve revealed their favourites from across the city. There’s the greengrocer in Belgravia who did fruit and veg deliveries to people quarantining; there are the eco-friendly spots that ended Londoners’ relationships with single-use plastics; and there are the shops across the city that somehow managed to get their hands on flour. 

Want more Local Lifesavers? Read about chefs’ favourite cornershops and greengrocers and butchers.

Local Lifesavers

Khan’s Bargains in Peckham

‘The shop has got an A to Z of spices, all one in shop. And you can find them easily, too.’ @deeaiysha

135 Rye Lane

Parkway Greens in Camden

‘There’s a super cosy atmosphere in this shop. You can smell Turkish food being cooked in their small kitchen at the back and they have an amazing selection of produce – even during the early days of Covid – from duck, quail and goose eggs to at least five different varieties of tomatoes. They even have Cypriot potatoes, and being from Cyprus, that made feel at home.’ @edguk

52 Parkway

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Yasar Halim on Green Lanes

‘This store had everything that the big supermarkets ran out of during lockdown. Plus packaging-free veg and really nice bread.’ @nella_allegra_b

493 Green Lanes

Zaco Convenience Store in Islington

‘This shop is an absolute treasure trove. It has lots of choice, especially when it comes to organic goods.’ @_tanyabowd

175 Upper St

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Photograph: Akin
Photograph: Akin
Photograph: Akin

Akin Supermarkets in Dalston

‘This shop had absolutely everything during the Great First Lockdown, including flour and yeast! They’ve always got fresh fruit and veg and a great selection of wine (essentials). They got me through the quarantine.’ @sea.walls

2 Shacklewell Lane

Clocktower Greens in Crouch End

‘An absolute gem with amazing produce and the best lettuces around.’ @sybrighton

52 The Broadway

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Nature in Stoke Newington

‘These guys have the best produce in town, and always give service with a smile and a genuine “how are you?”. They even reordered my favourite product more quickly than planned, when it was out of stock. They kept me afloat on days I couldn’t see another friendly face. Massive love and thanks to them for now and then!’ @saffersnaps

219 Stoke Newington High St

Bağci Food Centre in Clerkenwell

‘They’ve got banging international food and fresh veg at this shop.’ @leadzifa

152 Central St

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Photograph: eatslondonlife
Photograph: eatslondonlife
Photograph: eatslondonlife

Stone Mini Market in Leytonstone

‘You always feel super welcome at this shop and they try and be eco-friendly too.’ @tatxventura

743 High Rd

SK Store on Old Kent Road

‘I go to this shop for all my Indian cooking ingredients.’ @sheelasrasoi

201-203 Old Kent Rd

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FreshGo in Gipsy Hill

‘The owner of this shop lost his life to corona because they stayed open throughout lockdown to service our community.’ @sophieisabel

81 Gipsy Hill

Soloman Best Choice

‘At this Maida Vale shop, you can literally get everything you need: fab fresh produce and Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean herbs and spices at great prices. And there was no queue when people were waiting outside Tesco round the block.’ @khushikukadia 

247 Elgin Ave

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Buy & Save in Walthamstow

‘A heaven for any spice you ever need. They have 20 different types of honey and great olives.’ @rose_prinelle

253-255 High St

Photograph: Harringay Local Shop
Photograph: Harringay Local Shop
Photograph: Harringay Local Shop

Harringay Local Store in Haringey

‘This shop kept up with the madness of lockdown brilliantly.’ @alicedeville

581c Green Lanes

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Tooting Arena in Tooting

‘They were always stocked up with everything we needed during lockdown: fresh veg, organic tinned beans, craft beers and, most crucially, bread flour! Plus they open early and close late, and the staff are always friendly.’ @shutter_bean

6-8 Upper Tooting Rd

Charles of Belgravia in Belgravia

‘Bally [from Charles of Belgravia] delivered fresh fruits and vegetables to keep us going through our 14-day quarantine! The big stores didn’t have a delivery slot for the whole two weeks, but Bally delivered the same day. If he didn’t have an item, he found it for us. It was excellent and seamless. Highly recommend this local market!’@julie_king_2

27 Lower Belgrave St

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Where 2 Save in Kilburn

‘The guys at this store were perfect! Working consistently and always was on point to help the community. They never over-charged on products that were difficult to source during the pandemic. In fact, when I spoke to the boss he mentioned doing that meant he lost out but he wanted to help so it never mattered for him.’ @polat7m

352 Kilburn High Rd

Hussey’s in Wapping

‘This store did a good job of serving the community and offered free home deliveries throughout the year.’ @kirstin5177

64 Wapping Lane

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