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Frome times talks to local businesses

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Following the latest round of lockdown easing, non-essential shops re-opened on 15th June bringing more people back to the town centre. Here, Frome Times talks to a few about how they are coping…

Nikki Parker at William Rose & Company said, “We and the customers are in good spirits – it’s great to be back!

“Local businesses need the community more than ever, especially because of how the economy has been hit. We do rely on the community for support, and not just financial, but moral support. Local businesses get to know their customers and build relationships that perhaps they won’t have with the ‘bigger boys’.

“It’s still quite nervy and stressy, and people are still adjusting to a new way of shopping,  but we are doing really well – we are just as busy as we were before the lockdown. We have done all that we are supposed to according to the government’s guidelines –  we have posters and the appropriate PPE.”

Alex Hart at Charles Hart Jewellers said, “We have remained open online, and have been doing good business during the pandemic. It will be a challenging time in the shop though – we can only allow one customer in at a time, and obviously they might want to take their time. So we have prepared the upstairs showroom for appointments, to help keep the shop floor free. It’s going to be a new way of working, and we expect it to be challenging, but it has to be done.

“It’s important that the community supports local businesses so we can keep money in the local economy and protect jobs. We’ve got a fantastic range of shops in Frome and if people want to keep them, please come and support them.”

David Wye at Domesticare said, “Overall things are not too bad. We kept going over lockdown with emergency repairs and staff who were furloughed returned in May – so things are slowly returning. And the shop is now open to the public – and we have social distancing, hand sanitizer all in place to keep people safe.

“If the community doesn’t support local businesses, we won’t have any left. We have been here 35 years, and I would like to thank everyone for their support – long may it continue.”

Kevin Corcoran from Kevin Corcoran Carpets & Vinyls said, “It’s been very busy – and we are now offering a full service within the restrictions. To make our service Covid-secure we have hand santizer available and we are limiting the number of people in the store, as well as implementing a one-way system. As we are visiting people’s homes, our staff are wearing face coverings, our vans are santized before and after use, and we are asking customers to keep their distance.

“Everyone is cooperating and acting sensibly – we all need to train our brains to this ‘new normal’, and soon it will become a habit for us all.

“My motto is stay safe and get back to work! If we lose the high street it will be too late to get it back – so the community needs to get behind local businesses. You might be able to save a bit of money by shopping online, but you lose out on that personal service. That’s our biggest asset – the knowledge we can share before you buy, and the after-sales customer service.”

Richard Findlay from Old Bath Arms said, “It’s been going really well. For the past five weeks we have been offering a frozen food service – blast freezing restaurant quality food – and delivering it to the local area – there has been a great response and we are thinking about expanding the service to go national. We are now also delivering hot food and that has had good support.

“There is one crucial reason that people need to shop local and support local businesses, and that’s employment. I cannot stress this enough – by supporting local businesses, you are helping to keep people employed. We need more than ever for people to support local businesses.”

Jude Kelly from Café La Strada, said, “We have been open the past five weekends during the pandemic offering a takeaway service – trying to bring back some joy to Frome and some much-needed capital for us. We are extending the number of days we are open this week. And we are waiting on further decisions from the government – a one-metre social distancing rule would be helpful, but will still be challenging as we are in the oldest property in Frome.

“It’s been a challenging a time, but we are trying to rise to that challenge – all businesses in Frome are – and we will prevail! It’s been a joy to see children with our ice creams, and be appreciated by the community. That’s been very sustaining for us.

“Without a doubt it’s very important, more than ever, that we all look after and nurture our local businesses and shops – not just for the economy, but socially too.

“Frome is a great community, and I’m sure everyone understands how important this is. All businesses are trying their best in these unprecedented times -we all need and hope for a modicum of normality.”

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