Shop Local: Shining the spotlight on St Luke's Terrace in Pallion
Pallion’s independent traders are encouraging people to “shop local to protect their local community” during Lockdown 3
Once regarded as the busiest Sunderland shopping street outside of the city centre, St Luke’s Terrace in Pallion has been serving its community for decades.
Over the years, it’s seen many businesses come and go, and in recent years has seen more units occupied by chains, however, there’s still a strong string of independents helping to maintain the street’s character – many who’ve been trading for more than 30 years.
As part of our series of spotlight features on local high streets we went along to the shopping precinct to speak to independent traders offering essential services about how they’re faring in Lockdown 3.
We’re visiting the streets, which lie at the heart of their communities, as part of our ongoing #SupportLocal campaign encouraging people to use local businesses, online and in store, where possible to help boost Sunderland’s economy.
The Urban Terrace Kitchen Deli is one of the more recent additions to St Luke’s Terrace, having opened their doors in 2016. Since then, husband and wife team Michael and Zoë Jameson have attracted customers from across the North East with their restaurant-quality lunch specials which are freshly made to order.
Zoë said: “As a small family business we would encourage people to shop local to protect your local community businesses that are open, and their small, independent supply chain.”
Each morning the couple post daily specials, such as steak tacos, seabass, pan-fried tuna steak, and slow roast Cajun pork shoulder with grilled black pudding, on their social media which people pre-order and collect at lunchtime.
It means they already had a click & collect service in place pre-pandemic and it’s helped them to keep their loyal customers well fed in lockdown.
Michael, a chef by trade, said: “It’s quietened down and footfall has decreased on the street, but we have a tradition of click & collect so we still have custom. We’re not a ‘take away’ in that sense, our business has always been about making fresh, restaurant-quality food accessible for everyone.
"One of the biggest differences, however, is that the perspex screens, and the fact we can only have two customers in at a time, takes the heart and soul out of the business. We’ve always been community led and people would often stop and chat with us, and other customers."
Michael added: “I have noticed that local Sunderland businesses are working together a lot more recently, and it’s great to see”
Steve Hodgson has been at the helm of Master Services for 31 years, making it one of the longest-running businesses in the street.
As he provides workwear, much of which is required for safety, he’s among the retailers permitted to trade in lockdown with a click & collect service.
"It’s not been easy, but putting reminders on Facebook about our click & collect has helped,” explained Steve. “One of the big differences is the people requiring workwear. Before the lockdown, we did a lot of items for places like dog groomers and beauty salons, but at the minute it’s for the construction industry as they’re the only ones still able to work, so that’s kept us on an even keel.”
Over the road, Murtha’s has been serving up fish lots for 34 years and is still overseen by its founder Hilda Murtha.
Her daughter Anita Murtha now mans the fryers front of house and she say the fish and chip shop is proud to still be on the street where it started.
"It has been quieter than usual, especially without the schools open and people not being out and about for work,” said Anita. “But we’ve actually had customers thank us for staying open, which is lovely. This is a good shopping block and we feel proud we’re still here after all these years.”
Like many independents, delivery has been a vital resource offered by Twin’s, one of the fruit and veg shops on the street, which has been trading for 27 years.
They deliver fresh fruit and veg boxes, as well as winter warmer boxes, priced from £10, for free to homes around the city, a service that’s a lifeline for many who are shielding or self-isolating.
Gayle Monck, from Twin’s, said: “It has been a lot quieter on the street, but there’s still a good community spirit here. Deliveries have been a God send for people. People who are shielding are over the moon when you turn up with their box.”
Love Lily bakery has been on the street for two years. As well as a counter, which is currently only open for collections, the distinctive pink unit houses the bakery where they prepare all the treats for their tearoom in Roker.
Gemma Ganley, who runs the business with sister Helena, says their website has really helped to keep the business afloat, and remind people they’re still here.
"We’ve found so many new customers through lockdown weekly online sales who didn’t even know we were in Pallion until they found our website during lockdown,” she explained. “A lot of these customers have now become regulars looking for weekly treats / pick me ups.”
Gemma say it’s heartening to be part of a supportive community: "We’ve been at St Luke’s two years at the end of this month. It’s been great, everyone is really kind in recommending other people’s businesses.”