Independent Northampton town centre retailers on first Saturday after coronavirus lockdown

"There is a strong desire to keep the town’s independent businesses alive."

Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 5:45 am

Independent shops in Northampton town centre encouraged customers to keep coming in while looking back on the first Saturday after their coronavirus lockdown.

The team at Vintage Guru has been enjoying a steady stream of customers, many of them new, to the shop since it reopened along with many other 'non-essential' stores last Monday (June 15).

Co-owner Matthew Lewis said: "A lot of our regular customers seemed worried that many shops would not return to trading but, considering that not all businesses are ready or able to be reopened yet, it is reassuring to see so many people ready to resume shopping."

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Vintage Guru co-owners Julie Teckman and Matthew Lewis

Matthew said the social distancing measures in place to enable safe browsing among the clothing, gifts, vinyl, bric a brac and housewares available at the St Giles Street shop have been a relief to visitors who are happy to be back shopping again.

One regular customer even went so far as to bring in a card welcoming the team back.

While Vintage Guru’s bee-themed window reminding passers-by to stay safe has been an attraction too, with a queue of people waiting to buy bee-themed items and visitors to the town even stopping to have photos taken outside it.

Matthew said: "There is a strong desire to keep the town’s independent businesses alive and we are hugely grateful for the support we are getting."

Voni Blu owner Yvonne Spence

Another retailer who has enjoyed the return to trading is Voni Blu owner Yvonne Spence.

The Castilian Street womenswear shop started solely on appointments, with some bookings made before it reopened, but as spaces became available, customers were allowed to walk in.

"We've had a pretty good week, we did have a couple of spaces in the diary so people could walk in which was fine as we have everything set up properly," she said.

Furniture has been removed to make more room for customers to browse while each client has their own rack for when they want to try on clothes, which is then deep-cleaned.

While Yvonne said business has been steady, the spring/summer season is nearly over so they are having to catch up, but with so few events organised, there are fewer outfits to buy.

But mainly the shop owner of 11 years is just glad to be back doing what she loves.

"While we were off we embarked on a few new things like a new website, which was good as it gave me something to focus on," she said.

"But it's been really good to be back."