Chesterfield’s independent retailers share their reopening experiences
Non-essential retailers in Chesterfield town centre returned to their shops and stores on Monday 15th June.
Supporting retailers and visitors, Chesterfield Borough Council has implemented social distancing measures throughout the town centre, market and Market Hall.
The implementation of safety measures mean that some retailers are now promising a ‘celebrity’ shopping experience for Chesterfield shoppers.
For shoppers who are still shielding however, the Supporting Local website created by Destination Chesterfield has details of around 100 shops, food and drink businesses, training, support and service providers in and around Chesterfield that have adapted to provide and supply their products and services remotely.
Below, owners of three independent retailers in Chesterfield share their experiences since re-opening to the public.
Laura Jo Owen, Owner of Adorn Jewellers in The Shambles, has been in contact with customers via social media throughout lockdown finding out how they wanted to shop once lockdown was lifted. They told her that they didn’t want to queue to get into the shop do an appointment-only system was introduced when the shop re-opened on 15 June.
Laura Jo said: “Because we are just a small shop, we put an appointment-only system into place to manage the social distancing guidelines, but we didn’t know how it was going to work out. However, it has gone really well. On the first day of opening we were fully booked and have been nicely booked up since which is very positive. We have hand sanitiser in the shop, which we are encouraging customers to use and we clean in between appointments.”
“It’s been a lovely week back at the shop. People are considerate, understanding and happy to be out. There’s still a spirit of ‘in this together’ which is encouraging to see.”
“I really hope this new-found momentum for high street shopping continues. Now, more than ever, people are voting with their feet for the shops and stores they want to see remain on the high street.”
Lisa Swift, Owner of Shop Indie in Vicar Lane Shopping Centre said: “We’re delighted to re-open. We’ve had a steady flow of customers in the store since re-opening. Lockdown has given people a new appreciation of going into a shop and being able to browse, particularly when they’re looking for a gift and don’t know what they want.”
“The shop has hand sanitiser throughout the store which customers are encouraged to use. We’ve also put stickers on the floor reminding people of social distancing and added a Perspex screen to the counter.”
“The feedback from customers has been great. We’ve spent lockdown finding new suppliers and products for the shop and we’ve had great feedback from customers. At the moment the shop is only open on Monday, Friday and Saturday as we’re having to combine operating the business with home schooling our young children. We’ll be increasing the opening hours of the business gradually. We’re very much looking forward to getting back to being open six days a week.”
Dorothy Robinson, Owner of Dotique on Chatsworth Road, re-opened on Monday 15 June. She said: “We are so excited to be open again,. It’s a relief to re-open our doors after so many weeks and welcome customers into the store. Some were nervous coming in for the first time but seeing the safety measures we have in place has given them confidence to return.”
“We’ve thought a lot about keeping our staff and customers safe. Only four customers are allowed in the shop at any one time and, once inside, we ask them to sanitise their hands from one of our sanitiser points. We have two-metre marking throughout the shop, free masks and gloves and Perspex screens on the till point. Customers are allowed to use the changing rooms to try on clothes but afterwards we fully clean the changing room and the clothes are steamed and put in isolation for three days – luckily we have a lot of clothes.”
“It’s early days and despite talk of reducing the two metre rule to one metre, we’ll keep two metres in place as we want to ensure everyone is safe when shopping with us.”
Many town centre businesses are positive about their future following the success of the Shop Local message which has been championed by Destination Chesterfield, the Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Borough Council throughout lockdown.
A report released yesterday (25 June) by East Midlands Chamber has revealed optimism among local businesses for a full recovery following the outbreak of Covid-19. Click here to read more.
Destination Chesterfield are always passionate about supporting local businesses and are keen to encourage people to continue to do so at the moment. In the latest blog by Peter Swallow, Chair of Destination Chesterfield, read why Supporting Chesterfield retailers is vital for our local economy.