Gosport shops reopening 'felt like Christmas' for vinyl record shop owner
INDEPENDENT traders could find themselves thriving now that coronavirus restrictions have been eased.
A sense of optimism seems to have come over Gosport High Street, following the reopening of non-essential retail.
Shoppers were seen perusing the high street all day long, with entrepreneurs hoping that without so many big retailers, small businesses will have their day in the sun.
One of those business owners is Kieron Howes, who runs A Slice Of Vinyl Record Shop in South Street.
During the recent Covid-19 lockdown he has given his business an online platform, but nothing compares to seeing customers walk through the door.
He said: ‘For the first day, I would say things have gone alright. We haven’t been rammed, but everyone who has come in has been really sensible – it was really nice.
‘To me it felt like Christmas, that’s the best way to describe it; I was up at 5am this morning because I haven’t been working for months.
‘I wouldn’t have cared if nobody had turned up, but luckily we have some really loyal customers who are so supportive of what we do.’
Kieron hopes that in such a time of need, Gosport people will shop locally and support independent retailers.
‘There seems to be a lot of love for independent shops at the moment, especially in Gosport,’ he said.
‘I think this year could well see the resurgence of independents here, because there is plenty of space where the big brands have jumped ship.
‘Supporting local businesses is one of the best things people can do right now.’
While Commercial Road in Portsmouth and Gunwharf Quays both saw plenty of footfall as the shops reopened, Gosport was comparitively quiet.
The biggest queues could be found outside the barbershops, such as Bawan Hairstyle.
In the queue was Angela Albray, who hasn’t had a haircut since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.
The Brockhurst resident managed to snag a last-minute appointment, and had spent her morning up and down the high street.
Angela, 59, said: ‘I’ve been into Peacocks, New Look and been for a coffee.
‘It’s nice to have the shops back – I prefer looking at things in person rather than buying online.
‘Right now though I just want my hair cut nice and short.’