Richmond’s non-essential shops re-opened their doors on Monday with social distancing and sanitising measures put in place by local retailers.
During the last three months food shops have worked hard to successfully keep local people supplied with fresh produce and now other shops are able to follow suit serving Richmond people and visitors to the town. The week has got off to a good start and it was encouraging to see more people in the town centre.
Alyson Swift of King Street Kitchen and Gift is pleased with the results of re-opening; “Our first two days of opening have been excellent – better than I hoped for. After slight apprehension it was great to get back into the shop and lovely to have customers so happy to see me and the front door open. A steep learning curve when it comes to social distancing measures, however, being prepared to evolve and offer the best possible customer service, it's been an exhilarating couple of days.”
Mother-in-law of Alyson, Christine Swift, also reported a good start to opening at her York House shop. “Denise and I have really enjoyed our second day of opening. The atmosphere today has been terrific. Almost like Xmas. We had our first private viewing to-day at 5pm. with a very appreciative customer. Yesterday, our first day back, was like first day at school. Sales were good, everyone learning, even to the times we need to be open. More shoppers in the afternoon.
Christine continued, “We hope to have all our sales staff back working in July at hours to be decided after next week”.
Marcia McLuckie, Chair of the Original Richmond and Business and Tourism Association (ORBTA) is pleased to hear positive stories from members. She said, “Richmond is very much open for business and it is gratifying to hear from retailers who have got off to a really good start”.
Marcia continued, ‘Richmond is lucky to have so few empty shops in the town, with only around 5% empty compared with a national average of 11.5%. We even had a new retailer open their doors for the first time on Monday. Richmond company Berber Leather had planned to open back in March but had to delay their opening in Trinity Church Square until non-essential shops were permitted by the Government to re-open. Berber Leather has traded successfully for the last four years through their website and attendance at big shows and have now decided to open their first shop in the town’.
Beautiful tubs and baskets are being put around the town by Ravensworth Nurseries. This year the theme is blue and yellow, the colours used by the Alzheimer’s Society, to raise awareness of Richmond’s ambitions to become a ‘Dementia Friendly Town’”.
Whilst all Britain in Bloom judging is cancelled this year, Richmond Town Council and ORBTA decided that Richmond should remain cheerful and welcoming. In addition to the planters and baskets purchased by the Town Council, generous donations by the City Secret, Zetland Estates and York House have enabled ORBTA to put mangers and tubs on Dundas Street roundabout, Dundas Street and the Channel. Funds raised by the Station Singers, along with a Richmondshire District Council grant and financial input from ORBTA will go towards other flower planters and keeping all the flowers watered and cared for by Just the Job.