EIGHT businesses threatened with closure after the collapse of Allders are aiming to give themselves a new lease of life.
The traders, which include takeaway food outlets, a branch of Coughlans bakery, a watch repairers and a bureau de change, are all located in what used to be known as the Allders Mall, linking North End with George Street.
They all faced an uncertain future when the 150-year-old department store went to the wall last September.
But the businesses survived thanks to backing from the council and landlords Minerva and they are now aiming to attract more customers, by rebranding the area as North End Mall.
Neelofar Khan, who runs the Chilli Chutney and Chai Corner food outlets in the mall, said: "There are still many people who think that because of the closure of Allders, the mall has also closed.
"We have recovered some of the business we lost but we still have a long way to go."
She added: "All of the businesses here are family-run, small home-grown businesses which have fought through thick and thin and we are grateful to our loyal customers for continuing to support us."
The traders are now determined to go all out, to heighten the profile of the mall and show shoppers what they are missing.
The rebranding process has started with Minerva taking on responsibility for cleaning and lighting the area and discussions are under way with the association about making other improvements to the mall's appearance.
Tramlink has also agreed to allow traders to use space on the rear of the George Street tram stop to advertise their businesses and also offered advertising space on other stops around Croydon.
The businesses have been talking with representatives from Westfield and Hammerson, about securing their future in the two companies' joint regeneration of the town's retail core.
At the same time, the traders hope the rebranding will let shoppers see that the mall is part of North End as it is now, rather than part of Allders as it was in the past.
Ms Khan said: "The key message is that we're still open and thriving and we're serving people in a reliable, friendly way."