Dire trade threatens Sheffield sandwich shop - but it's not all 'doom and gloom' in the city centre

Trade is up to 75 per cent down at a Sheffield sandwich shop as office workers continue to stay away from the city centre.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 7:00 am

Rita’s Pantry, on North Church Street near the cathedral, saw a slight rise in custom when schools went back last week.

But it did not herald a surge and business is between a half and a quarter of normal, according to proprietor Richard Littlewood.

Custom today comes from builders, solicitors and the nearby courts.

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Richard Littlewood and Helen Bilgic at Ricky's Place (formerly Rita's Pantry) on North Church Street.

But without the large scale return of office workers, it will have to close at the end of October, he added.

Mr Littlewood bought it in August and has renamed it Ricky’s Place. It had been Rita’s Pantry for 40 years.

The Star took a walk around the north edge of the city centre to see how it had changed since lockdown.

The majority of windows were dark in a block at law firm Irwin Mitchell which employs hundreds at its base on Millsands.

As Rita's Pantry, it served office workers for 40 years.

Round the corner on Snig Hill, hairdresser Alicia Nang and a cafe next door have closed, although Albie’s cafe adjacent is still going strong and, further up, the Kommune food hall on Castle Street is open.

On Bank Street, Laser Quest still has a poster up from March explaining why it was closing and Cassinelli’s cafe in Wharncliffe House, also on Bank Street, has a note saying it was closed until further notice. All equipment has been removed.

On the same road, the former post office is to let, as is the old Sheffield County Court next door.

Property agent Martin Crosthwaite said a deal had just been agreed to sell the court to a developer who wanted to convert it into 27 flats.

The former County Court on Bank Street is set to become 27 flats after a deal was agreed to sell it.

He added: “It’s not all doom and gloom. People are looking for offices to expand into. We are pleasantly surprised with the amount of activity.”

On Campo Lane, the Just William hairdresser and The Plant sandwich bar both closed before lockdown. But Mr Crosthwaite said there was no shortage of people looking at them.

Craft and Dough, the former Wig and Pen on Campo Lane, is boarded up although its sister site at Kelham Island is open.

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