But businesswoman Kim Poskett has now told how she has had to pull the plug on the shop and start working on the business from home instead.
Kim, from Doncaster, first opened her card and gift shop, Special Thoughts, 36 years ago this week, at the age of 17.
But she has finally closed the doors of the store at the Colonnades shopping centre, Pell’s Close, after deciding she could no longer afford the rent after the first lockdown ended this summer.
Kim worked at the shop with her 80-year-old dad, Trevor Evans, nicknamed Arkwright by the shop’s regulars.
She said: “We closed in March when lockdown started – and we’ve not re-opened. The council would not negotiate the rent, and it was just too much for us. The aisles in the shop were narrow and we didn’t see how we could re-open with social distancing. I wanted to do everything by the book, but we couldn’t re-open.”
She had originally planned to stop the business then – but with a pile of unsold stock, Kim decided to try to swap to trading online, and has now set up a website, as Special Thoughts Cards and Gifts Doncaster.
She has stock stored at home using as much space as she can muster. Her daughter, Tilly, set up the website for her.
She said the switch has also enabled her to spend more time looking after her mum, Enis Evans, a former nurnse who has a rare form of dementia but still lives independently with help from a carer.
“We were going to close down,” said Kim. “But we had all the stock left. We needed to get the money back, so we thought maybe online was the way forward.
"A lot of our customers are elderly, and not online though. But some are loyal customers of 30 years standing, so when they ring us, we’ve taken orders from them on the phone.
"There are a lot of busineses struggling out there. We were struggling for footfall before lockdown, and that was the last straw.. Now I’m running it from home with cards stacked in trays.”