Shop local appeal issued by Amble trader to help combat reduced town centre footfall
A Northumberland shopkeeper is calling on residents to shop local to help traders get through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Norma Arthur, who owns Amble Pin Cushion, has actually benefited from the resurgence in interest in handicrafts in recent months.
However, she has also noticed a downturn in footfall, especially since the end of the tourist season.
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Norma said: “I feel we’re seeing a lot less of our regular elderly customers. People who were shielding, probably still are. Some will have got others to do errands for them, or to shop online for them.
"Now that the holiday season is largely over, it would be great if local people could give their local suppliers a go first, before shopping with a large online store, as many have of us have changed the way we are operating to help people during the current situation."
Since lockdown, Amble Pin Cushion has been taking phone and email orders, doing click and collect, making home deliveries, and conducting more website sales.
It has also been serving from the door since reopening in mid-June, with the option of browsing appointments for serious shoppers, whose details are taken for Track and Trace.
"We’re in a difficult position because everything is so temptingly touchy-feely in the shop, and we just can’t quarantine every item people would touch if we let them in to browse,” explained Norma.
"I think that many locals, particularly knitters, think that they won’t be able to get what they want without browsing, but this isn’t the case. Once we establish what the customer is looking for, we bring a selection of items to the door to show them.”
Big Conversation survey results from Northumberland indicate that 80% of people are visiting their local town centre less than they did previously.
More than a third (37.87%) say they are visiting a lot less, with 29.44% visiting less often while 13.55% haven’t visited at all.
The survey findings also indicate that 59.56% of people were not comfortable or not at all comfortable going to shops or libraries.