Northampton s independent stores were buzzing with customers again today for the long-awaited reopening of non-essential shops.
It has been the busiest morning for months in the town centre on a day that saw customers queueing outside Primark from as early as 7am.But it's not just the national chains who are hogging the limelight. By midday, Northampton's small businesses have reported a bustling morning after welcoming back customers for the first time since Christmas.
She said: "It's ridiculously exciting. We went past our sales target for the day by midday. It just feels good to be back.
"We've not been worried about if it would be slow today. In fact, it's been a really encouraging start to the week. We've got a real sense of confidence about this.
"I'm predicting we'll get three weeks of being busier than normal before we slip in to our normal routine."
Many small businesses were quick to adapt to the third lockdown and were ready to implement click-and-collect or an online service.
But now non-essential shops are open again, what would otherwise be a sleepy Monday morning has been packed with eager buyers.
Julie Teckman of Vintage Guru on St Giles Street said: "It's been a brilliant start. Everyone has been in a good mood and you can tell people are happy to be back and mooching around shops.
"I think people seem happier this time compared to the last time shops reopened. I think it's because we knew back then that there would be another lockdown before too long. But this time will, hopefully, be the last.
Co-owner Matthew Lewis said: "We were fully confident it would be a good day. People on our social media let us know they would be coming and some even asked us to put things aside for them."
Independent shops, pubs, hair and beauty salons, as well as gyms are all set to open today (April 12) as part of Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown.
Danny Parmar, proprietor of Styles of London clothing store caught some of the buzzing trade on Abington Street.
He said: "People have been dying to get out. There are a lot of people around town today.
"I think people are generally supporting independents this time, which is helpful to us of course. Despite there being so much internet shopping these days, people still want to touch the material."