Sales, boom times and the importance of going out - Doncaster shops react to re-opening date
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Those are among the scenarios shop bosses believe could happen after non essential stores open their doors again on April 12, after the announcement of the Government's roadmap for re-opening this week.
But retailers believe the re-opening of pubs and restaurants is also vital to their trade.
Sarah Jones, manager of Gregorys, a family firm selling leather goods, such as clothes, shoes and bags, in the Frenchgate Centre, said she had been hoping shops would be able to open sooner, but it was good to have a date.
They were open until January, and have been doing some internet sales since then, but Ms Jones said their main sales were from the shop, as with high value leather goods people liked to see what they were buying.
She said: “We now have something to work towards.
“We’ve got a lot of nice customers who say they will be coming back. The only concern is that there will be a lot of shops that won’t be re-opening, like Debenhams, and we don’t know how that will affect things.
"But we have our own customer base who will be back.”
She said they held been holding off on getting stock in because of the uncertainty, and would be buying in goods during March.
Some items were seasonal, said Ms Jones, and there would be things that they would be looking to sell off.
"There is likely to be a sale when we first re-open,” she said. “It is good to have a date, and I’m glad it's being done carefully.”
She said she expected they would be flexible and may give people the chance to view by appointment, as they did before the current lockdown.
Carl Bradley, who runs the Bradley Knipe menswear store on High Street said he was excited to have re-opening in sight.
But he was not confident it would necessarily be April 12 that shops re-opened, as there had been so many surprises so far during the pandemic.
"I’m champing at the bit to be able to re-open again,” he said. “We will be ready, but it’s about not getting too much too soon in terms of stock.
"We have already got stock ordered for winter though, even though we have had no idea when we would be able to open.
"I think when we’re allowed to open, we will be all right, but until things are back to normal with pubs and bars, it won’t be the same, because people buy to go out, and to go on holiday.
"When people are doing that sort of thing it will be better, but I am positive-ish.
"I’m optimistic, and it will be nice to be able to interact with people again. I think people will realise how much they’ve missed the town centre and shops. Lockdown has been difficult, but I’m grateful for the grants and support we’ve had from the Government and the council."
Phil Elvin runs the Punch menswear store on Wood Street.
He said the lockdown since early January had been tough.
"I think perhaps the smaller the business, the easier it's been, and I’m a small business.
"My landlord has kept my rent down, and I’ve had rates relief, and I’ve had a grant from the Government. That’s why I’ve been able to get through.
"I’d have liked us to be re-opening mid March, and I think we could have done social distancing as it's a small shop, but I guess it’s a national thing.
“It’s been a tough year and a half. The first lockdown wasn’t as bad with a £10,000 grant, but this has been tough coming after Christmas. January is usually quiet, but February picks up. I’ve got a bounce-back loan but I’m trying not to use it.
"I am hoping that there is some decent weather when we re-open, and that we get a feelgood factor, and I hope that it brings a boom time.”
Mr Elvin has spoken to suppliers this week to put in some orders.
He agreed that a return for the hospitality sector was important, as its success goes hand in hand with that of clothes shops, as people buy things to go out in.
"I hope that people will buy spring stock because they will be able to mix in the gardens,” he said.
"I want to be back to work. I miss the normality.”
Away from Doncaster town centre, Angi Huddart runs the Angie Lou boutique in Tickhill.
She has been trading online during the lockdown to help get by.
In recent weeks she has live streamed from her shop about her stock, with subjects including ideas for what people can wear for video conferencing meetings.
But she said she has been selling stock at close to cost price to keep it moving.
She said: “I’ve got amazing support from customers who love a bargain, and I’ve been selling stock at sale prices."
She said it had been a hard slog and her hours had not been the traditional shop hours as she had tried to help online customers outside those times.
“Sales prices have helped get stock out,” she said. “I didn’t want to have it left when we can re-open.
"We couldn't have the traditional January sale this year because we were put in lockdown on January 4."
She is pleased to now have a date to aim for to re-open, but agrees the re-opening of hospitality will be important.
She said: “The future feels a lot brighter. We can all give ourselves a pat on the back for surviving so far, according to our agents. It does feel that if we can all stick to the rules, we can get there. We just can’t afford to go back again.”