Welcoming sight as hospitality businesses reopen indoors

Retailers are reminding shoppers that Northumberland is open and ready for business as restrictions ease.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 20th May 2021, 2:14 pm
Caboose at Blyth Boathouse's head chef Andrew McMaster and Phil Smith, front of house manager.
Caboose at Blyth Boathouse's head chef Andrew McMaster and Phil Smith, front of house manager.

Businesses from across the county are appearing in a promotional video as part of the Shop Local, Shop Northumberland campaign, led by Northumberland County Council.

Bakeries, butchers, baristas and book shops are all asking people to shop with pride and support their local high streets.

The promotional video is being used to showcase wide variety and choice of businesses in Northumberland, to be supported by further videos highlighting retailers in each corner of the county as well as an extensive social media campaign and website – www.discoverourland.co.uk/shop-local

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It comes as hospitality businesses, visitor attractions and entertainment venues welcome customers back inside.

Among them was Caboose at Blyth Boathouse. The restaurant had been offering a takeaway service during lockdown before reopening its outdoor area from April 12.

Marc McPake, of Caboose, said: “The first few days have been very busy.

"It’s been good, numbers are fairly steady now people can come indoors.

"Bookings have been steady. Although some people are still apprehensive about coming inside, we are starting to see things pick up.

"We’ve got a number of measures in place. There is social distancing, which has reduced capacity by 40 per cent, staff are working in team bubbles, back-to-back working in the kitchen, and tables are cleaned then have to be left for ten minutes.

“We did a lot of work during lockdown to stay engaged with our community and customers, and now we are back open we are seeing some of our regulars returning.

"It’s still early days but overall a good return.”

A recent study from YouGov showed almost two thirds of Brits claim they will try to support local businesses and buy locally going forward.

As a result of coronavirus, 64 per cent of people want to support local businesses and buy local products.

Ellie Carcamo, of Caribe Coffee in Morpeth, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Shop Local, Shop Northumberland campaign.

“For us shopping local is all about developing a relationship with your customer and gaining their trust. If you can create this then customers will naturally start to spread the word about your business to friends and family.”

Daljit Lally, chief executive of the county council, said: “Northumberland’s businesses have so much to offer and we know that spending even a small amount locally can have a positive impact on the county’s economy.

“Our independent retailers all go the extra mile to provide a quality service for customers.

"Many of these businesses have been a real lifeline for communities throughout the pandemic, so now we need to do our bit to ensure our high streets and independent businesses can recover from this challenging time.

“I would encourage everyone to find out what is available on their doorstep and Shop Local, Shop Northumberland.”

Businesses who want to get involved in the campaign can now access a toolkit which will give them all the information they need including uploading the Shop Local logo to their website and sharing their stories via social media. Visit www.discoverourland.co.uk/businesstoolkit