Shop local plea from Norwich traders amid hopes for busy summer
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Independent businesses are urging people to shop local and keep their money in Norwich ahead of what they hope will be a bumper summer.
The rallying call was made as the Norwich Evening News launches its Summer in the City campaign while coronavirus restrictions ease and businesses welcome customers once more.
Paul Mills, owner of Soundclash Records on St Benedicts Street, said trade has been extremely busy since the April 12 reopening.
He said: "People want to support local and want local businesses to survive. My message is keep the Norwich pound going. That is the only way forward. When you shop online you are sucking the goodness out of the city centre."
The record store owner said he would keep up screens until Christmas regardless of what happens with social distancing rules.
Another trader on St Benedicts Street who said he would keep Covid-19 safety measures in place for a while is Mark Hedge, who manages Cookes Band Instruments.
He said despite trade being challenging the business would carry on by "digging in and buying sensibly", and said he hoped they would see a boost in summer.
Mr Hedge added: "We need people to support us. Once we get people in we are good at selling."
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Daniel Goldsworthy, a partner in Norwich Art Supplies, moved the business to a larger store on St Benedicts Street in December last year, which gave it three times more space than its previous home and attracted more trade.
He said: "I hope that people will come back in to the shops to help keep money in the local economy rather than it being drained away online. We are positive about trade. Having been doing this for more than 25 years you learn to take a longer term view."
Susie Pritchard, assistant at Mod One fashion and accessories store on Pottergate, said: "People are happy to spend money after lockdown. There is a shift in that people are optimistic about being able to go out. People feel safe coming into independent shops. They feel in control. Everyone is adjusting to the new version of normal."
She added that the store was coaxing people in with new summer stock, more women's clothes and selling items online as well as advertising products on social media.
Relying on the tourist trap
A textile store owner is hoping to attract customers through the expected rise in holidaymakers from across the UK this summer.
Rebecca Bone, who has run Norfolk Yarn wool shop since 2005, said summer was usually a quieter trading period but she usually compensated that with selling to tourists from abroad.
And despite an expected reduction in these visitors, she was hoping Norwich would attract more people from across the country as the travel situation remains unclear.
Mrs Bone said she moved from Aylsham Road to Pottergate seven years ago to appeal to tourists and said: "Norwich is a very good destination normally. I'm hoping there will be more tourists this summer."
She added: "Since April 12 business has been pretty good. There has been pent up demand. People are happy to get out of the house. People are quite relaxed about coming in."
Our Summer in the City campaign, sponsored by Norwich BID and Chantry Place, urges people to make the most of what Norwich has to offer this summer.