Former Uber driver swaps life on the road for new shop in Three Rivers
07th October 2021
It was a boom time for freelance drivers back in 2019 – and getting an Uber was as natural as catching a bus. But it all came to an abrupt end in March 2020 as the storm cloud of the Covid pandemic meant staying in was not just the new going out, it was the only option. For one Uber driver at least, the answer has been to swap his car key for the keys to a new Nisa Local grocery store in Chorleywood.
Jagmit Kapoor had been working successfully as an Uber driver for three years by the time Covid hit, but the pandemic changed everything. He said: “I took my savings to pay for the rental of the car every week, about £250. There were just no jobs out there, nobody was travelling and everybody was locked down. You could wait up to five or six hours just to get one trip. I did as much as I could to try and help people, such as NHS workers.”
Jagmit had been living and working in Glasgow, where his family was running a successful Indian restaurant. But as times were getting more difficult, an opportunity came his way via a friend who knew of a vacant shop coming on the market in Chorleywood. The family decided to make the move and, thanks to his parents and sister as well as local people he has had no problems staffing the shop.
Jagmit says he has been keen to gauge what local people want, and is trying his best to provide it with the new shop in terms of stock and opening hours. Chorleywood’s new Nisa Local is one of more than 2,500 independently owned stores nationwide, stocking fresh produce, groceries, beers and wines.
“Me and my family are always up for taking risks, and so far the local response has been amazing,” he said.
And in the same week Chorleywood has also welcomed a brand new restaurant, Bros Barbecue Burger and Shake, which specialises in burgers, steaks, gourmet hot dogs and a variety of grilled dishes.
The two new businesses, both on Main Parade, come after the district council published a report which found the village had an empty shop rate of 18% with ten vacant shops.
Bros Barbecue business advisor and partner, Manjur Ahmed said: “Our restaurant is mainly for introducing new types of food in this area. Our key item is various different types of gourmet grill burgers and barbecues. Our chef, Mr Suman Afsar, is highly experienced and has experience from different restaurants with over 12 years of experience. Our second chef is also highly qualified with over 18 years of experience.”
Nisa Local and Bros Barbecue Burger and Shake both were formally opened by the Leader of Three Rivers District Council, Cllr Sarah Nelmes, and Chair of the council, Cllr Keith Martin last week.
Cllr Nelmes said: “It really is a heartening sight to see two new businesses opening in Chorleywood at the same time. There is no doubt that there have been very difficult times recently for retailers, so it is great to know that enterprising people are ready and willing to make new things happen and bring new job opportunities, more choice for customers and great variety to our high streets at this time. Congratulations and I wish them the very best of luck for the future.”
The Chair of the council, Cllr Martin, added: “These two new businesses opening in Chorleywood, a restaurant and a convenience store, are great new assets for the village and its residents. I was delighted to be there to officially open them both and I am certain they will be a huge success.”