“There is a lovely buzz in the shop and high street,” said Bridie Wilkinson, marketing manager for Barkers and Barkers Home in Northallerton, speaking after non-essential retailers in England and Wales had reopened on April 12. “People are happy to be out again; we had good takings on 12th, and it is busy again today.”
Bridie added: “It feels really positive; when I walked down the high street at lunchtime it was full of people dining outside and in pop-up beer gardens.” The Northallerton department store (winner of EIH 20 Best Department Store Independent) reopened with a ‘Brighter Days Loading’ campaign in its window.
Spring flowers and picnics are the re-opening window theme at Car and Kitchen in Settle. “We’re selling loads of picnicware; outdoor dining will be the foreseeable future,” stated co-owner Tash Meredith. She describes the first two days of re-opening as “pretty good – a nice, steady vibe rather than crazy busy.” She added: “Everyone has been popping in to show their support. We’ve done well with online sales over lockdown, but there is nothing like face to face and being able to chat to customers again.”
In Tunbridge Wells, Sarah and Alan Wood, joint mds of Trevor Mottram are happy that re-opening trade is “pleasantly busy,” noting that the pavements of The Pantiles are full of people eating out, despite the cold temperatures. Sarah and Alan have both been featured on Radio Kent and in the local press following the screening of the shop’s tv makeover, adding to the buzz in-store.
At Harts of Stur in Sturminster Newton, purchasing director David Conduit described the re-opening of the cookshop as “really good.” He elaborated: “We had everything looking perfect, and the customers came flooding in. It’s busy again today as well, and everyone seems happy that a degree of normality is returning.”
Top: Picnicware in the window of Car and Kitchen, Settle.