On Saturday afternoon I headed to Walthamstow Market to do a bit of shopping, I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, I was really just out for a wander. The market is always busy on Saturday’s but this weekend it was particularly packed. I usually retreat to the pavement when it’s busy and try to avoid the crowds by zipping up the high street behind the stalls. There was no getting away from the crowds this weekend, even the pavements were full. It was like the shopping equivalent of an obsticle course, by the time I reached central library I was exhausted from dodging elbows, shopping trolleys and a small child who seemed determined to scooter in to my ankles at every possible opportunity. I decided that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for market walking and started to head across Town Square, Selbourne Road offers a much quieter way back home. As I walked I remembered that I had heard about a pop up tea shop on Hoe Street, having battled up the market the thought of a nice cuppa was too much to resist. I turned on my heels and walked up to the top of the market in search of a warming, soothing cup of tea.
The tea shop is called Massis Tea, sadly it’s not a permanent fixture in Walthamstow, but one of the first tenants of Hoe Street Central, a pop up shop located opposite the new cinema. Each tenant gets a two-week stint and can either take the entire shop or part of it. The first two weeks saw two traders take up residence, Massis Tea and a bakery called Pretty Please London. When I was in on the shop on Saturday I asked the owner of Massis Tea how things had been going, he told me that he was really happy with the number of customers that had been visiting. I’m not surprised because his flavoured tea lattes are amazing, I ordered a ginger bread hug, the smell drifting out of the cup was beautiful, the taste even better. I had a good chat with the owner as I sipped on my heavenly tea, he told me about his plans to try his tea out at various markets before opening a shop. Sadly his shop isn’t going to be in Walthamstow but he did talk about how much he appreciated the support he had since he opened up in Hoe Street.
The tea shop and bakery close on Wednesday but there’s lots more planned for Hoe Street Central. It’s open through to May next year and a poster on the wall lists the other organisations that are making use of the space. I was pleased to see that Carbon 28, a clothing designer that used to have a shop in Wood Street Market is opening up in December. I’m also looking forward to Plant Nation who are going to offer horticultural knowhow and locally grown produce. Other future tenants include yoga workshops, a handmade rug and flooring supplier, youth workshops, local artists and a business workshop for local designers. Hoe Street Central is going to be much more than a pop up shop, it’s a valuable space giving all sorts of organisations and traders a chance to further their business. There are lots of empty shops in Walthamstow, wouldn’t it be great if more of them could be put to similar uses. If you do get chance to pop in to the pop up before the bakery and tea shop close you definitely should do. I went back today and tried some more of the tea including butterscotch and hazelnut, both of which were lovely. Hopefully Hoe Street Central will prove to be a success, and the short-term tenants like Massis Tea thrive when they move on.