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Open for busines

Posted: 13/07/2020

This past week has been enjoyable as it has signalled the return of some (compliant) personal contact. We have missed contact with other small business owners – many of whom feel more like friends than customers.

It has been great to visit, to spend money with several local businesses and share experiences of the past few months. We don’t just pay lip service to the ‘shop local’ concept. Yes, there have been a few lockdown stories but also a lot of positivity. Businesses of all size are pleased and relieved to be back open, or to know when they can be.

All have used their time effectively, to review, plan and change things for the future. Some have tried to future-proof their businesses with specific pandemic contingency plans… it has to be done!

A café we visited has reinvented themselves as a cosy bar – still offering a café menu and food deliveries – but with an evening offer now too. To save costs they have undertaken the refurbishment of the space themselves – reclaiming timber from pallets to build a bar, repurposing materials for shelves, acquiring tables and chairs from other bars that have sadly shut their doors.

What is also apparent is the desire to work in partnership with other small businesses. We can all help each other. Bars are working together to maintain fair pricing without undercutting each other and to help each other with capacity during social distancing. We are forming a partnership with another publisher to be able to offer wider coverage for businesses that need it.

Perhaps this is a good thing to arise from the pandemic… a return to more traditional values in life and business, and an awareness that ‘together is stronger’. It’s a win-win for the business and the customer.

Another small family firm has created a whole new business by being creative and trying something new to help the original business survive lockdown. Now, where they had one, they have two! Both businesses (a café and a bakery) complement each other, and the future looks positive.

A business in the home furnishings sector has seen a wave of sales since they re-opened and are looking now to take on a new member of staff to help cope with demand. Clearly people have spent time during lockdown planning home improvements!

Hopefully, we can all support local independent businesses where possible. If we put the local economy first this will help our recovery and potential to create jobs, and it will help the national economy too. It also feels good to know you are supporting a small business – shop local, shop independent… shop happy!

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