'Re-energised' Ipswich shopping parades helps family firm expand

Steve Kay, Oliver Kay and Arron Fairley. Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have

Steve Kay, Oliver Kay and Arron Fairley from family-run business Kay's Fruit and Veg shop in Ipswich have expanded. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Ipswich shoppers have "re-energised" shopping parades, pushing a family business to expand. 

Steve Kay of Kay's Fruit, Veg and Florist works 100 hours a week between his Nacton Road, and Meredith Road shops, but is not stopping there.  

Steve Kay. Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have expanded PICTURE: CHARLOTTE B

Steve Kay in front of the new shop in Hawthorn Drive - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

His new store at Hawthorn Drive opened on Wednesday as his business has boomed during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Mr Kay said: "We have been at Nacton Road for over 25 years. 

Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have expanded PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Lovely tomoatoes at Kay's in Ipswich. - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

"I have seen children grow up and we have really become part of the community. 

"Local shops did so well out of the pandemic as people discovered us again. 

Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have expanded PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Kay's new shop in Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

"People came often to us as they felt it was safer than supermarkets.

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"It's really re-energised our business." 

He estimates over this time his customers went up 30%. 

Steve Kay, Oliver Kay and Arron Fairley. Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have

Steve Kay, Oliver Kay and Arron Fairley in front of the new Hawthorn Drive shop - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

And this experience allowed him to open his latest store, which will be run with help from his son Oliver Kay, son-in-law Arron Fairley, and other family members.

 "I need to keep my family in a standard of life as well," he added. "The two of them are old enough to do it together. 

Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have expanded PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Fresh carrots and other vegetables at the new Chantry shop - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

"It's time for them and they are good enough and able enough. 

"Chantry came up and it really appealed to us as a smaller shopping parade."

Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have expanded PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Inside Kay's Fruit and Veg shop - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

But Mr Kay said at 57, he would not be retiring any time soon. 

He added: "My wife would rather I retired. The business will eventually be taken over more and more by my family."

The 57-year-old did not know whether he would open another shop or not. 

Mr Kay said: "It's hugely rewarding to take on another fruit and veg shop. 

Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have expanded PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

Kay's Fruit, Veg and Florist in Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

"We would want to appeal to more people and it's a massive challenge to fit this in and create new places like Hawthorn Drive."

Kay's Fruit, Veg and Florist shops locally during the summer months for a lot of its fresh food. 

During the winter and summer, the family also goes every day to Spitalfields Market in London to pick up supplies. 

Family run business Kay fruit and veg shop in Ipswich have expanded PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BOND

From fennel to cress, there is lots on offer at Kay's Fruit, Veg and Florist in Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

The new shop is at 285 Hawthorn Dr, Chantry, Ipswich IP2 0QG. 

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