Assistant shop keeper Aku Owaka Haigh feels that Leeds’ independent shops are not recognised and appreciated enough in the city.
By Siân Doherty
Mr Haigh, who is originally from Bradford, works at Yellow Sunrise in the Corn Exchange to support his studies.
“I am studying at Leeds Beckett university. Leeds has always been a really nice city with lots going on. The differences between here and Bradford is huge – it is just a whole other world.
“At Yellow Sunrise we have things from all around the world – Thailand, India, Morocco, China, Japan. Lots of different cultures that don’t necessarily get represented.”
He believes that large corporations have taken the limelight from small independent shops in the city – which Leeds used to be well-known for. The Corn Exchange, despite its once popular reputation, now seems to be a novelty to most people.
Mr Haigh said: “I think Leeds needs more care and attention. If you go back 15 to 20 years, people would hang out on the steps of the Corn Exchange. Now you get people saying ‘I didn’t know this building was here, I didn’t know it still existed’. I don’t think the identity of Leeds should be limited to places like Trinity. The entire city has so many small spots of culture that should be more celebrated.”
The student identified Central Road as one of the best places to go to enjoy the independent shopping experience that Leeds has to offer. Located near to Trinity, the street’s businesses have a lot to compete with.
“One of my favourite food spots in Leeds is Little Tokyo. Although, if I was going somewhere to meet people, there’s a coffee shop next door called Mrs Atha’s which does some of the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life.”