Last week, we spoke to a few of our local shop owners to find out how they had coped during lockdown and what safety measures they were putting in place ahead of yesterday’s reopenings. Most were eager to return, having spent almost three months relying on social media sales and website orders. Those who already had a significant online presence did relatively well and those who didn’t, adapted accordingly to try and secure enough sales to at least pay their rent.
Yesterday, non-essential shops were permitted to open their doors again. In the days leading up to this, our local shop owners had studied guidelines, ordered protective screens, installed hand sanitising stations and handed out face coverings to their staff, in order to make sure that their businesses could operate as safely as possible.
If you were in Skipton yesterday, you will have noticed a significant increase in the number of people hovering around the town centre. A sign, perhaps, that some of our desperately worried traders were to see their first profitable day in almost three months. In the media, there were scenes from various UK towns and cities showing long queues of people outside shops. Some even pitched tents during the early hours to avoid long waiting times once those closed signs were flipped.
Unfortunately, such queues were only formed outside the outlets of major retailers. In Skipton, it was no different. Having promoted an excellent one-day-only offer for NHS staff, Skipton’s Sports Direct store had a rather lengthy queue on Swadford Street for much of the day. It was a wonderful gesture and we are sure they did marvellously well, however, we were keen to know whether our independent shops had an equally positive first day.
To follow up on last week’s article, we have again spoken to a number of Skipton’s independent non-essential shop owners, to see how their first day went and to gain an insight into the shopping behaviour of locals post-lockdown.
Here’s what some of Skipton’s independent shop owners had to say about their first day back…
Home & Kitchen
“It was good to see so many people out to support the shops. We had an enjoyable morning with some of our regular customers calling in to say hello and wish us well.
“There were some shoppers around, hopefully they will grow in numbers as people become more relaxed with getting out again. But in all honesty, every shop needs the support of customers now as much, if not more than before…”
“It has been lovely to be back, to see and speak to my customers again. I’ve missed my shop and the town. I hope its onwards and upwards for all the Skipton businesses from here on.”
The Home Company
“We were delighted to be able to open our doors once more to our wonderful customers. We’re so lucky to be based at the High Corn Mill in Skipton and have a spacious, open-plan showroom for customers to shop comfortably. To keep our everyone as safe as we can, we’re carrying out extra cleaning of high touch areas and clearly marking the two metre distance with floor stickers.
“For those guests who would prefer to shop on their own, we’re continuing our private appointments in and out of opening times to meet the needs of all our customers. Bookings can be made on our website – www.thehomeco.net.”
Gemology Holistic and Wellbeing
“It’s good to be back! It has been a great first day back. Very positive.”
“We decided to do a shorter day, 9.30am till 4.00pm, so we could do a clean when we close.
“It has been a quiet day with only a few customers coming through the door but they have complied to our social distancing measures and have been very pleasant and chatty. Probably glad to have someone different to have a conversation with.”
Not So Shabby
“It has been lovely opening again, though a little nerve wracking at times, hoping that it would go well. The sales of Frenchic furniture paint rocketed online during lockdown and has continued now with lots of new and old customers coming in to browse and buy.
“Everyone that has been in has been happy that we are open and has followed the guidelines set out. So far, it’s all good and I look forward to continued success and welcoming the people of Skipton and visitors alike.”
Myrtle and Webb
“Reopened today on reduced hours, but a had successful day. People were just wanting a bit of normality and local regular customers were happy to be able to buy something to enjoy. It was lovely seeing everyone and I have had a few postal requests too.
“Early days but a good atmosphere and healthy sales so yes, a good day! Thank you everyone for your support.”
Cool Cards and Gifts
“My first private appointment yesterday resulted in a massive sale so I hope that is a good omen!”
“Great first day, lots of familiar faces all happy that the shop is open again. We’ve made lots of changes in store and had great comments and people were happy to queue. We are operating a click and collect service as well as continuing with free local delivery from our website which has proved very popular.”
“Monday was such a lovely day. What a relief to be able to re-open our doors and welcome back our customers! We had a steady stream of people all day who were all respectful of the social distancing measures in place.
“It was such a positive day being able to catch up with our customers and thank them personally for supporting us. Thank you once again, Skipton, for your support”