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East Village transforming into retail community

PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 January 2016 | UPDATED: 10:56 20 January 2016

Florin Craciun pulling a pint at Neighbourhood restaurant in East Village

Florin Craciun pulling a pint at Neighbourhood restaurant in East Village

Archant

A year is a long time in business, and nowhere is that more evident than in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park's very own East Village.

Hussain Ali, Adam Henry and Becky Finnemore at Pave Velo bike shopHussain Ali, Adam Henry and Becky Finnemore at Pave Velo bike shop

From a 2,500-person estate without a single shop in the autumn of 2014, the former Athlete’s Village now boasts a hub of 15 retailers, selling everything from groceries and bikes to Beijing street food and baby clothes, and an ever-growing community of more than 5,500 residents.

Neighbourhood beer shop and restaurant, the first independent retailer to open in the village, will celebrate its first anniversary with a special party on Friday, January 29, and has witnessed many changes in its early life.

When it opened at the end of 2014 the only other trader was the Sainsbury’s store next door in Celebration Avenue, but general manager Ellie Kwong, 31, insists the area is becoming one of east London’s most up-and-coming communities.

“The East Village itself is just perfect for us,” she said.

Family lifestyle store Olive Loves Alfie East opens in Stratford East Village by owner Ashlyn GibsonFamily lifestyle store Olive Loves Alfie East opens in Stratford East Village by owner Ashlyn Gibson

“It’s very much a community – everyone knows each other and people call me by my first name.

“I’ve worked in plenty of places in the West End and that would never ever happen there, so this really lovely.”

Described as a beer shop and restaurant, Neighbourhood boasts a well-stocked bar with 20 beers and ciders and became the first place in London to boast a tank of Czech brew Krusovice, an innovative solution to provide the bar with bulk beer straight from the brewery.

The restaurant also operates as an up-market off license, selling craft beers from across the world to take home and enjoy.

Although other bars an eateries have opened in 2015 – Darkhorse, Mama Lan and Signorelli to name but a few – increasing the competition, Ellie insists it’s a case of the more the merrier.

“Having more retailers will just bring more people to East Village which is good for everyone,” she added.

“Better choice and more offering is better for residents and we all get along with each other – the whole place just has a lovely neighbourhood feel.”

Now benefitting from a bike shop, laundrette, hair salon and family lifestyle store through recent openings, plans are already in place to launch four new businesses in the area over the coming weeks and months.

Coffee shop Hand, fish restaurant Fish House, La Gelatiera, an artisan gelato specialist and café and a dentist, East Village Dental are all fitting out their shops.

“East Village has come alive in the past year,” said Neil Young, CEO of Get Living London, who own and manage the privately rented homes in East Village.

“While our residents love having Westfield next door, we know having neighbourhood places to eat and drink right on their doorstep has really helped to bring the community together.

“We hope people living across Newham will visit us in 2016 to see what’s new since we were the London 2012 Athletes’ Village.”

Visit facebook.com/NeighbourhoodEV for more information.

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