Halloween in Northampton saves Dazels fancy dress shop after months of uncertainty
Once government support ran out this twenty-year-old business hung in the balance
A twenty-year-old fancy dress shop in Northampton has been saved from closure by a frightfully successful Halloween.
Dazels, owned and run by Hazel Harris, has been a fixture of Northampton's party scene ever since Harris founded it in the early 2000's along with her husband, Darren Sabin. The pair combined their names and thus Dazels was born.
The business in St Leonard's Road, Far Cotton is almost entirely dependent on events like Halloween and Christmas to keep things running, so when everything locked down due to Covid-19, with no parties in sight, the family venture faced a challenging time. Even the early days of opening offered little reprieve for the shop.
For the past three months, the shop's fate looked dire.
Hazel said: "I was so grateful for the help the government gave us. Even if I went without I didn't mind that. It was just so long as my business could survive and my rent got paid, I was happy. I would have had to close there and then if not for that.
"But after things opened, I spent hours here from morning till night every day and not one person came in. It was frustrating people were, naturally, wary of coming out and especially partying. All the while I was here, wondering if we would make it through."
This was made all the worse because Hazel had to wait it out alone, after losing Darren to cancer at only 49 years-old. With help from her kids, Joanna and Brian, Hazel said she kept things going well enough, but she always missed him.
The one ray of light came, ironically, from this darkest time of year as Halloween haunters rushed to the shops at a pace 'equal or even greater' to those seen before the pandemic.
Hazel said: "My loyal customers have come back this Halloween and even brought new customers with them as well.
"I went from thinking we were going to close after twenty years of working on this business, to thank God we get to stay."
So after all the trials of Covid-19, lockdowns and beyond, Hazel remains upbeat. She said that it is what you make of things that matters most.
She said: "We all go through some terribly troubling times. No one expects to go through something like this [the pandemic]. But I think having been through that time with my husband, it proved to me that things can always get better.
"We all need to stick together as communities and towns and I hope we've learned that from Covid-19.
"When you think you're down and out, never give up."
Hazel says her eyes will soon turn to Christmas where, she hopes, people will be just as merry and dressy.