Meet Alex Bailey, the man behind your newspapers, confectionery, magazines and more.
Sloane Square’s Haines is London’s oldest news kiosk.
“Haines was started in 1892 by Thomas Haines, my mum’s grandad. It has been run by the family ever since,” says Alex.
“Thomas’s elder son John took over the business, then my mum, and now it’s my turn.
“My three brothers and I have been raised coming to Sloane Square. We have always had to play a part in the business, no matter how small we were or how small the part.
“Since leaving university I have been committed to driving the business forward.”
The newsstand is open 7 days a week from 5 am mid week and 6 am at weekends, closing at 7 pm.
“Our busiest time is between 3 pm and 6 pm during the week. The local school children stop by for a treat on their way home.
“We do see some on their way to school, too! Groups of school children combined with the rush-hour commuters makes for an interesting few hours!” says Alex.
The newspapers and magazines are ordered mainly online, and the stand has similar stock each week.
But Alex says that they are happy to source and order anything customers want.
“One recent example was a special customer who was featured in Hello! magazine and needed to source 200 copies. We managed to get them and deliver them to the door in time,” he adds.
Part of the community
“All of our customers are special to us. Many have been customers for decades and remember my granddad and his brothers and have stories to tell.
“I love how social it is. Each shift, I spend time interacting with people from all walks of life. So many regulars really make you feel part of their lives and they are very much part of ours, and we all feel part of this community.”
Alex says that his family no longer live in the area.
“It would have been nice to live in Chelsea – we can trace back at least seven previous generations who did. We have a great great great grandparent who was a coachman in the 18th century who lived in Sloane Street.
“Mum was the first generation to not live in the borough. Her mum was born in First Street,” he says.
“We feel very lucky to belong to Sloane Square. All of the independent businesses go out of their way to support each other. There isn’t anywhere else we would rather be.”