‘Use them or lose them’ say Fareham small business owners on first weekend after lockdown
‘USE them or lose them’ was the message from Fareham’s small business owners as shoppers flocked to the town to enjoy the first retail weekend after lockdown.
While the town's independent traders were ‘delighted’ to reopen for the vital run-up to Christmas, they were keen to stress the importance of continued support from the local community.
Andy Moore, who owns the men’s clothing outlet The 157 Store, said: ‘I’ve now had to close for a total of four months and I’m really chuffed to be able to reopen again.
‘We’ve been fortunate to be able to continue trading online with our click and collect service but I’ve loved seeing the customers and being able to provide that one to one service again.
‘I know some other local businesses have not been quite so fortunate and it really is a case of use it or lose it - if we value our local shops then we need to use them.’
Andy is particularly concerned about the rise in online shopping and how the pandemic may have a long term impact on people’s retail habits.
He added: ‘I understand how in our hectic day to day lives it can be convenient to simply shop online with one of the big providers. People like the idea of supporting local independent retailers but it’s vital that they do so at this time.’
It was a sentiment shared by fellow Fareham retailer, Peter Fisher, who owns the Craft Crazy gift shop which has been in Fareham for 30 years.
Peter, 65, said: ‘It goes without saying that it was a great relief to reopen but we’ve a lot of catching up to do. It’s not just about lost trade but the worry of lost custom. People’s habits change and there’s a concern customers who may not normally have shopped online are now able to do so and this could affect high street footfall.’
However, since lockdown ceased on December 2, Peter has been pleased with the level of custom.
‘We’ve had a good couple of days of trading – on par with a normal December. I’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go so it’s essential to support local independent traders.’
Zoe and fisherman James Marshall decided to open their fishmongers, Sea-licious, as a result of the first lockdown.
Zoe, 44, said: ‘In March, James was bringing home his catch but all the fish markets were closed and so four months ago we opened our own shop.’
As a food outlet the shop was allowed to remain open during lockdown, but Zoe is delighted it has come to an end and hopes to benefit from increased footfall with more people on the high streets.
She commented: ‘It’s vital people support local businesses. Without the the support of the local community we wouldn’t have a business.’
It’s a message endorsed by The News as part of our Shop Local campaign.