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Is the golden age of Abbeydale Road - Sheffield's most independent street - coming to an end?

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Abbeydale Road is packed with independent shops, bars and restaurants run by people from all over the world.

It’s a place where people go to have a dream and do something, not everyone makes a lot of money. As such, quirky and niche businesses abound.

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Nicole Jewitt of Cole’s Corner: “From the robbery to the absence of customers, right now is really miserable.”

Still, so far the big brands that screw everything up have stayed away (Pizza Hut is getting a pass to be run by a local franchisee).

Strolling through the streets is exciting – if you mentally block the traffic – a huge range of nationalities, energies and options.

But some worry that the Golden Age is coming to an end.

Joanne O’Connell is the deputy manager of Rumkeg, which opened six months ago. Having grown up in the area, she thinks Abbeydale Road is the best ever.

Multiple challenges threaten to wipe out new and vulnerable companies.

All costs, especially energy costs, have risen significantly and customer spending has fallen. There has also been a corresponding surge in thefts and break-ins, according to Nicole Jewitt of Coles His Corner, a record shop, cafe and bar at the intersection with Frederick Road.

she said: Since then, a great many break-ins and break-in attempts have taken place here, especially in the last few weeks.

Amici and Bici chef Laura Licobono and waitress Molly Goss.

“From the robbery to the absence of customers, it’s really miserable now.”

The store, which is only open Thursday through Sunday, stopped selling fried foods after the price of oil more than doubled.

Nicole says she plans to get a second job so she can keep up even though she’s already working 50 hours a week.

She admits that Cole’s is a “lifestyle business” and that lifestyle comes first.

The popular Forge Bakehouse is now hiring.

And she likes Abbeydale Road, supported by appreciative customers around the Nether Edge and Meersbrook.

She said: It’s full of independents with character and isn’t suffocated by homogenized high street chains.

Division Street was like this, she points out, but now it’s Taco Bell.

Abbeydale Road, by contrast, is home to Gravel Pit, which sells records, prints and plants, as well as one-off Jameson curios, gifts, tea rooms and kitchens.

But Nicole says we’re already starting to see closures.

“It costs twice as much to get half the customers. Places like this are an option in tough times. Businesses will shut down if the government doesn’t intervene.”

The new bike path on Little London Road is worsening traffic on Abbeydale Road, according to shopkeepers.

Joanne O’Connell is the deputy manager of Rumkeg, which opened six months ago. Having grown up in the area, she thinks Abbeydale Road is the best ever.

Old friend Liz Gash, who has lived on Chippinghouse Road since 1988, agrees.

She welcomes places like Forge Bakehouse, which are pricier than others, but “you can totally taste the difference,” she says.

Amici and Bici is another success story. It stretched sideways and built an outdoor seating area.

Waitress Molly Goss has worked there for 6 years and knows Abbeydale Road well.

“It’s credible,” she says.

But with Little London Road closed to vehicles to make way for bike routes, all shopkeepers agree that traffic is getting worse.

But if you don’t like traffic, you probably won’t go to Abbeydale Road anyway.

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New Art and Old Picture Houses on Abbeydale Road
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