A Gipsy Hill bookshop is to throw a party to celebrate the arrival of a new neighbour - Sainsbury's. Local shopkeepers and food shoppers alike have been begging the supermarkets to come, even starting a campaign to get the supermarket giant to set up shop in the area.
Gloom set in when Morrisons closed the Westow Hill Safeway branch last November, as part of the supermarket's obligation to shutter or sell off several stores following its £3bn takeover of its rival in March 2004.
Locals are relieved to be getting a supermarket close by as the nearest, Tesco, is not easily accessible for elderly people or people without cars. "After six o'clock in the evening, choice is severely limited." And most local business owners are happy because they hope "Sainsbury's arrival will reverse a sharp decline in business".
Sainsbury's expects some 4,000 customers to visit its store each week, and local shop-keepers expect a trickle-down effect.
Of course not everyone is pleased - owner of the excellent Sergio's Deli on Westow Hill, Sergio Gonzales, "predicts daily takings to fall by £300 to £400, from a total £1,300" but has a positive approach to the change which should enable his shop to focus on being a deli.