This is what business owners thought about reopening their doors the first day after the second national lockdown

After having to stay closed all throughout November many retail shops, hairdressers and gyms were allowed to reopen this week - and this is what they thought about their first day back.

By Laura Andrew
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 12:52 pm

The Artisan, Craft, Gift and Food Emporium opened inside the Frenchgate Shopping Centre back in August of 2020.

Owner Marie Wilson was thrilled to be able to open the doors to her business once again on December 2.

Marie, 52, said: “We had a really busy morning and it’s been such a relief opening up again.

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Four business owners from Doncaster share their experiences reopening after the lockdown.

Marie said that whilst it has been busy she was expecting higher volumes of customers due to the ‘Wild Wednesday’ news she had heard previously in the week.

“I think there has been a lot of confusion about when shops were allowed to reopen,” Marie said.

“I’ve had a few customers come in and say ‘ I didn’t know you were back.’

Staff inside the Artisan Emporium shop.

“The town centre is certainly bustling but it’s by no means out of control.”

Marie has made the decision to open her shop every day of the week on the run up to Christmas to maximise profits.

“With news about shops such as Debenhams being in trouble.

Hair cut done by George Rump, Barber.

“But I think there’s something to be said that small independent businesses like us have come out of the other side of this and we’re doing ok thanks to the support of local people.”

Rump Barbers based in Norton also reopened on December 2.

Owner George Rump says he’s planning on cutting hair from 9am to 8pm every day up until Christmas.

George, 23, said: “Everyone that’s come in is just happy to be back to normal.

George Rump, 23, Rump Barbers, Norton.

“I’ve been quite busy but it hasn’t been as bad as the first lock down.

George said he has been happy to return to his barber shop not only to get business going again but for his own mental health.

“At first it was nice to have time off,” he said.

“But it started to mess with my head.

“I’m someone who has always worked long hours my whole life.

Inside the Bawtry Gym owned by Will Robinson.

“Going from that to just sitting on the sofa and taking the dog out for a walk once a day was tough.”

George said he is glad to get back to his regular routine and he has noticed the same from his customers.

One positive thing came out of the lockdown for George and that was a sense of community within his business.

He had several customers offer to pay for hair cuts they were not receiving due to the restrictions.

George said: “I had people say that they would still send me £10 every four weeks if it would help me pay my bills.

“I don’t think a lot of people realise that customers pay self employed peoples wages.”

The customers of Bawtry Gym also adapted this practice over the last year.

Owner Will Robinson said that he has had consistent support from gym members who are paying their fees but not physically coming into the gym.

Will, 30, said: “We’ve had standing orders going since March which has been great for us as we don’t have big money backers like other gyms.

Will said he was dubious about reopening on December 2, as the last month of the year is notoriously slow for gym businesses.

“Even before Covid-19 December was incredibly slow but I have been pleasantly surprised,” he said.

“Attendance before the lockdown was around 60 people per day and we managed to get around 45 people in on our first day back open.

“We were a bit fearful that people would just wait until January to come back but we actually took a good amount of money over the counter.”

Will spoke to many of the gym goers as they returned and said that most vocalised their enthusiasm to be back.

“I would say 70 per cent of the people I spoke to said they wanted to come back for their mental health,” Will said.

“It’s much harder to get the motivation to work out from home but the environment in the gym encourages people to work harder.”

Will has kitted out his gym with Covid-19 safety measures including partitions in between every machine and vicarious cleaning systems in place.

The Creative Quarter salon in Bawtry is owned by Billie Rowland and Jessica Gallagher.

Billie, 26, said: “December is always our busiest month but we will be working seven days a week to keep up with demand this year.

“Our clients are thrilled to be back.

“We usually see most of them on a weekly or monthly basis and they become friends so the atmosphere and morale now that we’re back in has been great.”

Billie said she feels lucky to be able to reopen and feels deeply for the hospitality businesses that are based around her salon.

“We did worry that with us being in Tier Three that we wouldn’t be as busy but that’s not the case at all,” Billie said.

“It has been a business nightmare and the worst struggle of our lives,” Billie said.

“But if we can make it through this year then we can make it through anything.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

Marie Wilson and Tammy Freer, owners of the Artisan Emporium.
Will Robinson, 30, owner of The Bawtry Gym.
Billie Rowland, 26, owner of The Creative Quarter, Bawtry.