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A growing plaice: “I want to help our Upper High Street”

Armando Camara Fish and Chips Andover

Armando Camara has been in business in Andover for over thirteen years.

His busy fish and chip take away is on the Upper High Street, but he admits times are tough

“I am committed to improving my business, people coming to the upper high street and proving a service for the people of Andover”, says owner Armando Camara who has lived in Andover for 27 years.

Rather than joining the inaccurate cry of ‘keyboard warriors’ that ‘Andover is dead’ the local businessman, well-known for his jolly, happy persona, has invested in Andover.

Camara’s now occupies the building next door as he recently launched a sit-down restaurant with some delicious plans for the future.

“I want more people to come to the upper part of the high street”, he told local radio station Andover Radio today. The 40-year old originally from Madeira added, “The restaurant is open seven days a week until 11pm every day.

“I will also open up the backyard to a dining area and I am planning to host Mediterranean-style bar-be-ques in the summer.

“Let’s give Andover something new.”

Camara's Fish and Chip Shop and restaurant, High Street Andover

At a time when national chains are obviously having trouble, Armando’s commitment to the town shows that he is taking on board how town centre visitors are moving away from national retail chains while embracing locally-owned leisure-led businesses.

“Life doesn’t stop here. I am forty, I am still young”, he adds to the amusement of customers in the restaurant. “I want to put more into growing my business and I really want to give customers a better experience.”

The sit-down part of Camara’s fish and chip shop is hardly a ‘chippy’; it is fully licensed and delicately decorated in a warm and welcoming, Mediterranean style.

The ‘Madeirenses‘ said,“We have coffee from £1.20 for people during the day and even though its a small area, on Saturday we had 35 people in here having a few drinks”.

The hardworking local businessman has really shown his commitment to Andover’s town centre by expanding, rather than contracting. His investment in money, time and emotion that should be applauded at the time when many social media users and the local newspaper are keen to slam the town as ‘littered with empty shops’.

A study by Andover Radio last week showed Andover has 130 local businesses in the immediate town centre area (against a national brand occupation of 60).

Armando’s plans for the future include knocking down a partition between his two properties to open-up the yard behind the restaurant to a colourful and welcoming outdoor dining area.

He hopes his business at 99 High Street will “Provide an intimate and hidden Portuguese-style alfresco dining experience for the people of Andover”.

About the author

David Harber

David Harber is the founder and Managing Director of Love Andover, including the Love Andover Observer newspaper and 95.9FM Andover Radio. He is a fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and a card carrying member of the Nation Union of Journalists.