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PUBLISHED: 11:46 31 January 2009 | UPDATED: 14:00 05 October 2010

Ulla Cronin runs a lifestyle shop in Roman Road

Ulla Cronin runs a lifestyle shop in Roman Road

ULLA Cronin, has been running the Finnesse Lifestyle shop in Roman Road, Bow, for nearly three years. Before that she worked as a financial controller for a Scandinavian travel agent in the West End. Where are you from? I m from the west coast of Finla

ULLA Cronin, has been running the Finnesse Lifestyle shop in Roman Road, Bow, for nearly three years. Before that she worked as a financial controller for a Scandinavian travel agent in the West End.

Where are you from?

I'm from the west coast of Finland. I've lived in England for 28 years - my husband is English. He is originally from Bethnal Green and my family-in-law lives round here but we live in Loughton in Essex. We have two grown up children.

What do you like about the East End?

I like the diverse society and cultures. There are a lot of interesting places like Brick Lane and Victoria Park. Spitalfields Market is my favourite.

What don't you like about the East End?

It could be a bit tidier and cleaner. Business-wise parking is a nightmare. It's too expensive for customers to park. At Christmas a lady told me she had spent £8 on parking by the time she finished shopping. In the West End they removed parking charges over Christmas. At the same time the big stores are able to make price reductions which us small shops can't compete with. I would like to see cheaper parking or free parking outside the busy commuter times. When I opened my shop everyone was saying this area would regenerate. But it is not happening and now we have the credit crunch on top. Unfortunately, I'm already considering moving my shop elsewhere.

What do you do to relax?

I don't have a lot of time to myself - the shop is open six days a week and with the communing time I spend 12 hours a day on work.

I like walking or knitting - I knit hats and tops for the shop as well as my online shop. I also read contemporary novels - I like the author Joanna Trollope - and watch historical documentaries on TV.

Where do you go if you're out up East?

I don't really get to go out round here. But I would go to Brick Lane to browse at the shops or to Spitalfields Market.


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