Last year, readers of our sister website, The Yorkshire Press, voted The Geek Side as their favourite independent shop in Skipton. Next month, this great little shop in Skipton’s Craven Court Shopping Centre will be celebrating its 4th birthday. We’ve spoken to the owner, Zoe Dickinson, numerous times over the years and have followed her business highs and lows. With strict safety guidelines to follow due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Geek Side won’t be able to celebrate in the way that it has done in previous years. However, this doesn’t mean they won’t be celebrating at all!
We caught up with Zoe to find out a little more about her time trading in Skipton and to learn how they plan on celebrating a whole 4 years of trading…
You have now been trading in Skipton for 4 years. Why did you choose to open in Skipton?
We’d seen a few friends making huge successes of their own businesses in Skipton as it is a very busy market town with many events throughout the year. We initially moved to Skipton with our design, print and wedding stationery business but also sold gifts to subsidize the quiet periods. Eventually, the gift shop got too busy and we spotted a gap in the geeky market. Obviously the Harry Potter side of the business fits Craven Court very well with its Diagon Alley-esque vibe!
You’re incredibly popular with Harry Potter fans. Do you often get people who have travelled a long way to visit your shop?
Yes! It always blows my mind that people travel for miles to visit our little shop. It makes us feel so proud of what we’ve achieved and how far word gets about us. The best we’ve had so far was our birthday party last year – two friends came all the way from Sussex!
You recently reopened after the lockdown period. That must have been a tough few months. How did you manage?
It was very tough. Though it was a much-needed break, we were still working hard every day. We’re very active online via our social media so luckily we got quite a lot of sales through the website during lockdown. As we were only able to travel to the shop once a week to organise deliveries, we were offering a discount code to compensate for the extra wait on parcels.
You implemented lots of safety measures ahead of reopening after lockdown. Are you finding that customers are adhering to guidelines?
Sadly people aren’t adhering to the guidelines at all. This seems to be an issue throughout the whole town. Almost every person needs reminding to sanitise their hands on entering the shop, they are ignoring the one-way system put in place, coming out in massive groups (so we cannot allow them all in at once) and hardly anyone is wearing masks. There’s also been a lot of complaints about masks becoming mandatory from Friday! So we will see how that goes.
How will you be celebrating your 4th birthday?
Our shop’s birthday weekend just happens to fall on Harry Potter’s birthday weekend, so it is only right that we celebrate with a Harry Potter-themed party on August 1st! We’ll be in full fancy dress, have Harry Potter music playing all day for that extra magical feel, we have organised cupcakes and will be holding a raffle to win a wand!
As there may be queues due to limited numbers in store we’ll be entertaining people in the queue with our selfie frame and some fun interview questions for our blog to keep people occupied while they wait.