Thousands of non-essential shops have opened across the country, after being closed for almost three months. Retailers large and small are having to adopt new processes to ensure they remain COVID-secure, with measures including limiting the number of customers in-store at any given time, and plastic screens at till points.
In Hackney, small business owners have prepared to welcome back their customers on Monday 15 June. The Hackney Gazette got the thoughts of some of the owners on getting back to business.
“As a small business, we rely on the local community continuing to shop with us,” said Megan Adams, the founder of sustainable refill shop Re:Store, based in Hackney Down Studios. The store will be open from 15 June, but now the containers customers bring to shop for kitchen essentials such as wholefoods must be refilled by staff members.
“Hackney is the vibrant and exciting place it is because of the huge variety of independent businesses, we need to support these now more than ever to preserve this. Where possible buy local products, vouchers for future events and spread the word about your favourite independent businesses.”
Many independent businesses have had to compete with the likes of Amazon and many other online shopping platforms. “Jeff Bezos is on track to become a trillionaire, yet we can see how harmful Amazon has been to many local businesses. In turn, our communities suffer,” told Bryony Lloyd, managing director of Antenne Books in Hackney Downs Studios.
“Local shops used to be the beating heart of communities. That has now entirely disappeared in some places due to large corporations.”
Some businesses have seen a significant increase in sales after closing their doors in March. Jess Joss and Skye Corewijn, the owners of Klei Shop at Netil Market, say they have been deeply touched by the support they have received from the Hackney community when they turned to sell their ceramics online.
They say shopping locally will ensure businesses like theirs will still be around when the pandemic is over.
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