TIMES for retailers may still be hard, but the Surrey Street area is about to receive a boost with the opening of three new shops.
Within the next few weeks, Surrey Street itself will see the addition of a halal butchers and a 99p store, while close by in High Street, a local fishmonger is intending to expand his empire.
For Batdal Balci, his halal butchers will involve a change of direction, with the new business replacing his kebab shop which operated from the same premises for seven years.
It will also revive a bit of Surrey Street history, being located in what used to be known as Butchers' Row.
Mr Balci has named his shop Erciyes, after the tallest mountain in Turkey. It is due to open this week, and will feature home-made Turkish recipe sausages.
He said: "The trade in the kebab shop had been going down and there were other problems which made me decide to do something different."
In addition to the sausages, Mr Balci intends selling a wide range of meat and poultry, including chicken, beef, lamb and goat.
He said: "I will be specialising in halal meat but I am aiming to appeal to everybody because everybody wants to eat quality meat.
"I know there are other butchers in the area but this will be good for the customers because there will be competitive prices."
Tamin Kamrhan has already made a name in the area with his fishmongers in Church Street and a fresh fish stall in the Surrey Street market.
He is now in the process of opening up his largest shop yet, next to The Green Dragon pub.
Mr Kamrhan said: "The shop used to be a gambling arcade but has been closed for around three or four years.
"I am sure opening the new shop will be good for the area.
"It will be better located for my customers who come from the South Croydon area and because it is larger I will be able to sell a wider range of frozen fish."
An opening date has not yet been fixed for the Sam 99p store but the company, which has in the region of 200 outlets across the country, is taking over the large empty premises that was previously the home of Murray's Meat Market.
Fiona Woodcock, the Surrey Street market inspector, said: "This is all good news for the area.
"It is so much better to have nice bright shops rather than people coming into the market area and having to look at shutters."