The two new tenants joining the Chichester District Council-owned site include Cherry’s Deli, owned by food writer and author, Cherry Menlove, and The Colt Foundation, a charity which funds high quality research at UK universities into occupational and environmental health.
Cherry has been running her business for 15 years online and has been looking forward to having a presence on the high street.
“During lockdown in March, I pivoted my deli overnight, supplying groceries and delivering to those who were isolating,” she said. “People used the service and helped to spread the word. They were also very kind and understanding, queuing outside the door without complaint and offering help and support.
“The Old Bakery, also incorporating Golden Square, is like a mini-town within the town. It has so much to offer in a small and very beautiful space.”
Meanwhile the Petworth Bookshop is an existing business moving into larger premises within the arcade, while The British Martial Arts and Boxing Association are expanding and taking over an additional unit.
Both businesses hope to be up and running in their new homes by the end of the year, and ready to open their doors when coronavirus restrictions allow.
The Petworth Bookshop opened in 2007 and owner Steve Howe is keen to move into bigger premises in response to an increase in customer numbers and to improve the in-store shopping experience.
“The move next door will enable us to run in-house events, signings and book groups — and will also give our customers, old and new, enhanced space to browse, sit and think,” he said.
“We offered a home delivery service during the first lockdown earlier this year, and this was well subscribed, but none of us expected to be so busy after we reopened. Now we are in lockdown again we have swung the collections and deliveries system back into place and once again are thrilled with how busy we are serving our loyal customers.”
Councillor Tony Dignum, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration at Chichester District Council, said it was ‘great news for the site’.
“Despite it having been such a difficult year, what’s happening here shows that there is great confidence in the town and what it has to offer, and that people are still willing to set up a business or invest in growing their existing business in Petworth,” he said.
“While our non-essential shops have had to shut their doors until 2 December in line with national coronavirus restrictions, Petworth and our other fantastic High Streets will be ready to welcome people back when these businesses are able to reopen their doors.
“In the meantime, many of our local businesses have adapted to the new restrictions and are offering takeaways or click and collect services through their websites.
“As we approach the festive season, we are encouraging everyone to do their bit this Christmas and support local businesses as much as they possibly can to help our businesses rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is something we always encourage, but it’s now more important than ever.
“We are urging people to support our Countdown to Christmas campaign, which aims to encourage everyone to support local businesses, including by buying their gifts and festive food locally.
“If you’re buying gifts this month while the national restrictions are in place, please remember that many of our business offer click and collect and delivery services.
“Our fantastic High Streets in Chichester, Selsey, Petworth, Midhurst and East Wittering are looking forward to welcoming you back when the restrictions are lifted.”
Find out more about the council campaign at www.chichester.gov.uk/countdowntochristmas