We continue our series where we ask the owners of local businesses what they think about being part of the community in the Seven Dials / West Hill area. Unsurprisingly, most of them yearn for an improvement in the parking situation and an overwhelming percentage think that business rates could be much fairer. Every one of the businesses love the community in which they are based. Final part to follow in the next issue. Meanwhile, please write to The Whistler and let us know what you like most about living in this area and your improvement suggestions.
Fullertons Graham Brown and Howard Abbot have owned this stationery shop for 21 years and 36 days (and counting) since they moved from the Stage Door Café in Sydney Street. “The business was for sale, we lived in the area and liked the location.” They like Seven Dials because “It has a unique sense of belonging and people are proud of their amenities and environment.” Improvement suggestion: the parking charges are appalling and confusing.
GB Guitars in Prestonville Road is owned by Bernie Goodfellow who moved here from Croydon 12 years ago. He always visited Brighton and wanted to set up in the town and he likes the vibe and the people in the Seven Dials. Improvement suggestion: parking could be much better.
Grocer and Grain Hakan Toklu has owned this deli/grocer on Surrey Street since moving from Istanbul to open the shop 10 years ago. He was attracted by the location and the local residents. He likes the convenience of the proximity to everywhere else in town and the different backgrounds of the people who live around here. Improvement suggestion: a Spring event that will attract local people to come together as a community.
Homage Mark Fisher and his wife, Liza Fisher-Zerb, are the husband and wife team who own this home and lifestyle store. They moved to Bath Street in November 2015 from Stoke Newington, as Liza “is a Brighton girl and Seven Dials is her childhood neighbourhood. We’ve always wanted to move back to Brighton so we relocated the shop. Seven Dials has a lovely village feel and yet it is 5 minutes walk from the centre of Brighton. Great pubs, restaurants, cafés, and independent businesses. Friendly, welcoming residents.” Improvement suggestion: parking for visitors and commercial premises.
Jagwa Tracy and Alero Ejuetami are the mother and daughter who run this tiny salon. Based here for 19 years – “It was cheap at the time” – they like the Dials because it’s safe, friendly and interesting. Improvement suggestion: businesses to open later.
The Kitchen Table Stuart Graves has been based here for 4 years, having worked in various pubs and restaurants in Brighton. He was attracted by the feeling that it was a neighbourhood. He runs the café with his assistants Marc and Sophie. Improvement suggestion: some more interesting retail shops.
Latina Adelia Pereira brought her award-winning (for recycling) Portuguese café to the Dials 20 months ago, having come from Brighton University. She was attracted by the good location and the lovely area. Improvement suggestion: fewer drunk people around.
Le Gourmet Deli Silvano Ricci owns and runs this delicatessen since his father, Silvano, retired recently, having moved from Montefiore Road 20 years ago. His second-in-command is Ryan Marchant. They were attracted by the “lovely local community” and like the community feel in the area. Improvement suggestion: free parking for half an hour.
Magdusia the Polish supermarket is owned by Ala Alrousan, with his second-in-command, Claire Alrousan. Ala has been based in the Dials for 12 years, since coming here from Abu Dhabi. He was attracted by “the beautiful look of the city, the sea, and the open-minded, friendly people.” Improvement suggestion: no road works in the summer.
Maple Café is owner Amanda Hoggatt’s first business and has been here for 20 months. She was attracted to the Dials because it is “a lovely area with a real mix of people” and what she likes most about the area is that “it has a small town feel and people are more relaxed and friendly.”
Mermaid Island Guijie Wang and her husband Michael Moore came to the Seven Dials from Saltdean one year ago, attracted by the local community, the adjacent shops and offices. “We like our friendly neighbours and being close to the shops and the sea.” Improvement suggestion: some trees or plant containers.
Michael Paul Insurance Services Paul Phillips owns this business and has been in this area since 1984, to which he was attracted because it was a busy area, with a good community feel. Improvement suggestion: parking.
Mishon Mackay has been based in Hove since 1987 when owner Alex Mackay set up his business. He was attracted by lots of London buyers and he likes the village feel and independent shops in the Seven Dials. Improvement suggestion: litter can always be improved and fewer cars.
Mr Face Make-up & Hair is owned by Martin Carter, and his second-in-command is Mark Stelfox. Martin was in London before opening the business a year ago, having been attracted by the shopfront, and the fact it was “way away from the town centre.” He likes the good community spirit and his amazing, loyal clientele. Improvement suggestion: free parking permits for customers.