Alnwick retailers keen to make up for lost time as they reopen for crucial Christmas period

Alnwick businesses have welcomed customers back as they try to make the most of the crucial Christmas trading period.

Non-essential shops were among those allowed to reopen their doors today with the end of the second lockdown and they are keen to make up for lost time.

Lisa Aynsley, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade and owner of Hotspur 1364, said: “We’ve got 22 days left to make it happen and it’s been an encouraging start.

"We’ve been busy in the shop and it’s looked busy around the town which has been great to see.

Alnwick businesses have reopened after the second lockdown.

"I might be in danger of sounding like a broken record but continuing to support your local shops is the only way through this.

"The local support throughout this pandemic is what’s kept us going, whether that be through their custom or messages of support on social media.

"I think everyone feels lucky to have had a local support network like we do in Alnwick.”

Northumberland remains in the highest Tier 3 level of restrictions which means pubs, restaurants and cafes must remain closed, except for takeaway or click and collect. The restrictions will be reviewed again on December 16.

Alnwick town centre after the second lockdown ends.

Lisa added: “The delight at retail reopening is tempered a bit because I feel for the hospitality industry and what they are going through.

"Despite that, I would encourage everyone to stick to the Tier 3 rules and give them a fighting chance to get their trade back next week. We need everyone up and running to make it a success.”

Notes of Northumberland on Fenkle Street was welcoming a steady stream of Christmas shoppers.

Sarah Spink said: “We’ve been busy with online orders even when the shop was closed during lockdown and that’s continuing but we’ve also seen a lot of customers coming in which is good to see. It’s an important period for the shop with Christmas coming soon.”

Lisa Aynsley, chairman of Alnwick Chamber of Trade and owner of Hotspur 1364.

Beauty salons and hairdressers have also been welcoming customers back.

Dawn Eastham from the Bonny Hoose Company and Salon on Market Street said: “The shop has been busy and doing a lot of business already which is great. It’s also been nice to see quite a few of our regulars again.

“We’ve been taking booking for the salon online and it is fully booked now until the new year. Our customers have been telling us how nice it is to be able to go out and about a bit.”

Mel Dial and Lauren Shields of House of Elite.

Owner Mel Dial said: “We did six days trading before we were closed last time around which was heart-breaking so we’re hoping for better times ahead.

"It’s been a really difficult time, not just financially but mentally. I’ve found this lockdown much harder than the first.

"There is some light at the end of the tunnel now, especially with the news about the vaccine, so hopefully the worst is over.”

Colleague Lauren Shields added: “With Christmas coming I’m not sure people have spare money available right now but bookings are picking up. We do feel people will shop local rather than go to somewhere like the Metro Centre.”

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Dawn Eastham of The Bonny Hoose.
Sarah Spink and Linzi Brown at Notes of Northumberland.