ProCook founder, Daniel O’Neil has been campaigning for clarity on what are essential retailers from the Government since the start of England’s current lockdown. He has been seeking to confirm that indeed cookshops should be classified under the traditional banner of hardware stores, with the capacity to be open to provide essentials for the kitchen and home, including products for food preparation, cooking and household cleaning.
“From the announcement of England’s second lockdown, I have been trying to get clarity from our Government and trading standards as to the classification of kitchen shops and whether they should be classed as essential?” Daniel reports. While the question remained unanswered, the local trading standards office and MP’s office had reached an agreement that ProCook was able to trade in some locations.
Daniel continues: “I have since then had conversations with other trading standards offices who interpret the lockdown classification differently and have asked me to close those stores – it’s crazy that there is no clarity across different Government offices. However, in most cases I have chosen to close our stores because there simply isn’t the footfall to justify keeping them open as shoppers react to the blanket message of store closure.”
Daniel highlights that the lockdown continues to drive sales of kitchenware essentials to the large grocers, which is to the detriment of all cookshops. He emphasises: “Ultimately, we need clarity, and I have tried very hard, and still am, to obtain this. Until we have this, even if we are able to open, our customers will most likely continue to buy these essentials in supermarkets not cookshops.”
Top: One of ProCook’s stores.