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“We cannot WAIT to open”

The Kitchen Range in West Wickham is one of the many cookshops that are eager to re-open on Monday (June 15). The independent cookshop has been very active in its local area during lockdown and is hopeful that community support for the shop will continue. Its window is filled with “colour, hope, fun and cheer.”

During lockdown, The Kitchen Range reached out to the community via social media, its emailing list and its fellow members of the local BIDs (Business Improvement District) movement. The shop offered help to those isolating and took orders via mobile phone and messages (as it does not have a transactional website).

Lucy Richards, manager and Paul Geoghegan, owner have delivered around 250 cookshop orders in the past ten weeks, addressing the high demand for kitchenware as more consumers have been cooking and baking at home.

Lucy told that best sellers have been proving baskets, dough scrapers, pasta makers, ravioli cutters, muslin cloth and Kilner Jars for elderflower cordial and jars for jam making, as well as “staples such as non-stick frying pans as people are cooking more.” Kitchen Range has also seen a 150% rise in its sales of SodaStream canisters.

“Our net is widening to include customers from Chichester and Croydon,” said Lucy. “So many people have said how nice it is to speak to someone, and that it’s much more personal than ordering on Amazon!”

She added: “Hopefully the community support will continue. Lots of people are saying they will shop locally and that they have missed us.”

Above: Kitchen Range’s hope-filled ‘reopening’ window uses multi-coloured moss.
Above: Kitchen Range’s hope-filled ‘reopening’ window uses multi-coloured moss.

Lucy also reflected: ”These past weeks have made me appreciate how important we are for our high street, and that the Kitchen Range has a lovely environment and is an inclusive place to work.”

The Kitchen Range is welcoming back its customers with a rainbow coloured window installation created by Lex Hamilton Floral Studio. It is filled hanging wreaths made from multi-coloured British moss. “We want to show we’re part of the community and thankful for all the NHS has done,” said Lucy.

Following Government safety guidelines, the retailer has installed a perspex screen around the counter, hand sanitiser stations, hazard tape showing distance markings, footprints showing the one-way system and posters reminding customers to socially distance and wait their turn to shop. It will continue to offer a free delivery service for customers who are shielding.

The Kitchen Range’s social media posts state: “We cannot WAIT to open.”

Above: A local florist installed the rainbow themed window at The Kitchen Range.
Above: A local florist installed the rainbow themed window at The Kitchen Range.

The shop was due to launch its cookery school in May. “It’s disappointing but the space is too small so we can’t think about opening at the moment,” Lucy explained. “So, we’re looking at hosting live online Zoom ‘cook-a-longs’, working with local chefs, on Saturday or Sunday mornings.”

Like many housewares stockists, social media has been a vital to reinforcing The Kitchen Range’s customer community during lockdown. Staff members have been sharing their home baking ventures via Facebook, and Lucy says that she has been paying for Facebook advertising to maintain the shop’s profile.

Above: Baking inspiration from The Kitchen Range’s recent Facebook posts.
Above: Baking inspiration from The Kitchen Range’s recent Facebook posts.

* A multitude of cookshops and housewares stockists that have been shut since March will be opening in England from Monday (June 15). Non-essential shops have been opening in Northern Ireland from today (June 12), while Scotland and Wales have yet to announce opening dates.

Top: The Kitchen Range, West Wickham is eager to open on Monday.

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