Borough Market traders have told the News how the UK’s departure from the EU has left them feeling uncertain about the months to come, writes Darcy Jimenez…
Dominic Coyte’s business, the Borough Cheese Company, offers hand-selected cheeses from both Britain and Europe.
He said preparing his business for Brexit had been “highly stressful”, and that while obtaining orders from France had been relatively easy so far, he was concerned that this might not be the case when it came to importing from other EU countries.
“We do get cheeses from other parts of the EU, including Greece, and it’s not clear to me that the simplicity that we had experienced in getting cheese from France is going to be matched by getting cheese from Greece,” he explained.
“We don’t know how that’s going to pan out just yet, but it might well be that there’s more problems coming from other parts of the EU.”
Max Secci, whose Drunk Cheese stall sells cheeses imported from Italy, faces similar uncertainty. The company stockpiled pallets of cheese last year when “things weren’t clear at all”, but Secci predicts that future imports will become “quite expensive”.
While stockpiling provides temporary security, the company will eventually have to make new orders with its European suppliers – and this is when Brexit’s consequences for some businesses will become clear.
Additional costs for EU imports will likely mean an increase in the prices of both companies’ products, and the traders can only hope the subsequent impact on their business will be minimal.
“Every time in the past that the prices have gone up, the amount of cheese we’ve sold has gone down, and that’s a concern,” Coyte explained.
“If that is also matched with a depreciation in the pound, that could mean that prices would go up, and that would shrink the business somewhat.
“However, overall, I’m optimistic that we’ve got a sufficiently good business model.”
Secci also told the News: “It’s just a matter of changing our prices accordingly and seeing if the customers accept this change, because this is not something we decided ourselves – we actually had no voice in the situation.”