Residents can now benefit from two new businesses which have opened in a shopping street in Chorleywood.
Grocery store Nisa Local and Bros Barbecue Burger and Shake were formally opened on Main Parade by leader of Three Rivers District Council (TRDC), councillor Sarah Nelmes, and chair of the council, councillor Keith Martin.
Former Uber driver Jagmit Kapoor decided to swap his car key with the keys to a grocery store in the village.
It was a boom time for freelance drivers back in 2019 – and getting an Uber was as natural as catching a bus. But it all ended abruptly in March 2020 due to COVID-19.
Jagmit had been working successfully as an Uber driver for three years by the time COVID-19 hit, but the pandemic changed everything.
He said: “I took my savings to pay for the rental of the car every week, about £250. There were just no jobs out there, nobody was travelling, and everybody was locked down. You could wait up to five or six hours just to get one trip. I did as much as I could to try and help people, such as NHS workers.”
Jagmit had been living and working in Glasgow, where his family was running a successful Indian restaurant. As times were getting more difficult, an opportunity came his way via a friend who knew of a vacant shop coming on the market in Chorleywood.
The family decided to make the move and, thanks to his parents and sister as well as local people he had no problems staffing the shop, which opened on September 28.
Chorleywood’s new Nisa Local is one of more than 2,500 independently owned stores nationwide, stocking fresh produce, groceries, beers and wines.
Jagmit added: “Me and my family are always up for taking risks, and so far the local response has been amazing.”
In the same week Chorleywood welcomed a new restaurant, Bros Barbecue Burger and Shake, which specialises in burgers, steaks, gourmet hot dogs and a variety of grilled dishes.
The two new businesses come after the district council published a report which found the village had a vacant shop rate of 18 per cent with ten vacant shops.
Bros Barbecue business advisor and partner, Manjur Ahmed said: “Our restaurant is mainly for introducing new types of food in this area. Our key item is various different types of gourmet grill burgers and barbecues.
“Our chef, Mr Suman Afsar, is highly experienced and has experience from different restaurants with over 12 years of experience. Our second chef is also highly qualified with over 18 years of experience.”