Majid Bensliman, the owner of Village in Hanover, said the café bar is “a hub for everyone, from students, old locals, builders, mums, and their babies… the list is long.” But like many independent businesses, they struggled during reopening after the lockdowns. More staff had to be employed for table service and fewer customers were allowed in to avoid breaching social distancing guidelines.
Algerian-born Majid, who goes by ‘Magic’, added: “I think the government needs to do a bit more. We are going to see a lot of premises closing their doors in the winter for good. I really think we should carry on supporting the local shops and outlets. Without them left there will be no community.”
During the lockdown, Village sold takeaway coffees, bread, milk, eggs, pastries, and more. This helped keep Village financially afloat and gave customers human interaction. Grace, an employee, said “lockdown has made us kinder to each other. We are sillier and more understanding than we were before.”
Six years ago, the pub The Horse and Groom was going to be turned into flats and offices before it was bought by Majid and turned into Village. The café bar serves brunch in the day and North African cuisine in the evening. Ben, a local and regular customer at Village, said: “Village is a community centre for the residents of Hanover.”