Northumberland 'essential' retailers still providing lockdown service despite deserted high streets

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Footfall is a fraction of what it was but traders are still providing ‘essential’ goods to Northumberland residents.

For them, it’s about the importance of providing a continued service to customers through lockdown rather than any expectation of significant profits.

In Alnwick, Proudlocks, a homeware and hardware store, has remained open through most of the pandemic.

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Owner Sally Proudlock said: “Footfall has only been one-tenth of normal in the last couple of days.

Northumberland traders still operating during lockdown.Northumberland traders still operating during lockdown.
Northumberland traders still operating during lockdown.

"We’re lucky in some ways because we’re near a couple of other shops and takeaways which are still open so we might get a few customers that way but the street is pretty dead.

"There might also be a few people spending a lot of time around the house and think it’s a good time for some home improvements so we’ll be here for them.

"We closed our doors for three weeks in the first lockdown but we were operating throughout the second lockdown.

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"It’s too early to tell what the footfall trend will be over the next few weeks but I think people are very scared of what’s ahead.”

Sally Proudlock, owner of Proudlocks in Alnwick, with her dog, Harry.Sally Proudlock, owner of Proudlocks in Alnwick, with her dog, Harry.
Sally Proudlock, owner of Proudlocks in Alnwick, with her dog, Harry.

In Belford, newsagent Shona Dixon does newspaper deliveries for around 120 residents.

"We have a lot of loyal customers who wouldn’t be happy at all if they couldn’t get their newspaper,” she said.

She is also the only shop open on the High Street.

"It’s like a ghost town, it’s so quiet,” she said.

A deserted Market Place in Alnwick.A deserted Market Place in Alnwick.
A deserted Market Place in Alnwick.

"We would expect it to be quieter in January when there are no tourists around but there are very few people around.

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“I did notice more people shopping local over the Christmas period which was good to see though.

"I just hope we can get through this as quickly as possible. I’d certainly hope to be back to normal by this time next year.”

In Berwick, Billy Smith of B&M Fruits was the only stallholder in town on market day.

Belford newsagent Shona Dixon.Belford newsagent Shona Dixon.
Belford newsagent Shona Dixon.

He said: “I’d say the street is about 25% quieter than a normal Wednesday but I’ve been doing fine. A lot of my regulars have still been coming.”

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Read More
19 pictures of empty streets in north Northumberland as new lockdown begins

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