Town Centre Re-Openings
As the slow release from lockdown continues the latest step this week is the opening of non-essential shops. Speaking to shop keepers in our towns it is clear that, as expected, they need our support by popping into our towns and shopping locally before shopping online or travelling to out of town malls and chain stores. It is worth remembering that for every pound spent in a locally owned shop it is estimated that 63% is reinvested locally whereas with a national corporation it is just 5%.
Thank you and well done to those shops who have been able to remain open to provide the essential supplies needed by our community and we hope all businesses have been able to access the financial support brought forward by the government and administered by Cannock Chase Council over the last few weeks. If you have had any difficulties or are not sure how you might be able to access support please get in touch: a discretionary fund was recently launched to support those businesses missed by the government terms and conditions.
We all welcome businesses opening. Yesterday we visited Hednesford and talking to the traders they are each excited and buoyed up by the return of customers. Some found innovative ways to enhance their business during the times of shop closure. We heard exciting developments of everything from delivery services at Acorn Florists and Candyland Sweet Shop to back of house service delivery by the Eye Value store and increased online sales for Bailey’s Shooting and Country Wear. Shopkeepers were positive about being able to open store fronts again and Daisy Chain Gifts told me about a customer who had saved up enough money during the lockdown to make sure she could go to each local store and spend a little with each one as a thank you. What an amazing community we have!
Walking around the town our community volunteers have done an amazing job once again decorating the town with thank you rainbows for key workers as a welcoming environment for residents and visitors alike. Shopkeepers have clearly taken precautions around social distancing with innovative and inviting ways to consider the safety of their shoppers. I even bumped into the District Council Environmental Health Officer visiting one shop whilst I was there offering support and advice around the precautions and guidance to open safely.
Shopkeepers also spoke about their flexible approach to reopening for retained staff who are on furlough and a phased return as business picks up in the days and weeks ahead. Some non-essential shops havetaken the decision to open at a later date: this will build interest in the town centres in July as the service sector of hairdressers, nail bars, cafes and pubs open bringing back vitality to town centres.
But one thing remains: these local people running local businesses need our support as a community. Please visit your local town centre, pop into the shops and meet these great community people as they support the restart of the economy. The more we use these shops the more of their staff will return, the more their confidence to invest in our area and the more prosperous our area will be. Whilst we are all thankful for the role of supermarkets and other essential shops over the last few weeks now is the time to support your local shops as they are likely your neighbours.
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