Card retailers are still reeling from the announcement made on Monday (May 25) that all ‘non-essential’ retailers will now have to wait until June 15 to re-open – a full fortnight from the anticipated June 1 date that had been mooted as likely.
“I was very upset and disappointed to hear the news – as it means all us indies will majorly miss out on Father’s Day sales, another lost Spring Season!” said a frustrated Mark Janson-Smith, md of Postmark summing up the views shared by many thousands of fellow indies.
With many aiming to re-open next week, card retailers have been working incredibly hard to make their shops compliant with the Government guidelines they have to meet to re-open, from social distancing requirements, hand santiser provision and PPE for staff and customers.
Bringing some unexpected joy in this arduous ‘return to work’ effort, Five Dollar Shake surprised its customers by creating some glamorous posters that cover both social distancing and safety messages across in an attractive way that is in keeping with the surroundings of a card and gift shop, using its distinctively styled illustrations. The images can be downloaded and printed by the retailer at any size themselves or can ask Five Dollar to print them and post them out.
The inspiration for the initiative was when Matt Genower (who co-owns the company with his wife Beth) walked passed a shop and saw a makeshift sign in the window. “I thought, our customers need better than that…”
Louise Bawcutt of The Present in Barnet said it was “joyous to see the Five Dollar Shake beautifully artistic posters as all others I’d seen available were very stark, industrial, factory-like and not in keeping at with all in our lovely pretty gift shops!”
Louise is planning to feature them in the window for people to see outside before they enter. “I will limit the amount of people in store to three or four and am going to insist on everyone using hand sanitiser on entering the shop. I will have a small table just inside the door with hand sanitiser and the lovely Five Dollar Shake hand sanitiser poster next to it. It’s seems a gentler way of insisting! Even if people are wearing gloves I will be asking them to either remove them or sanitise over them as they can be contaminated and customers will be handling products.”
Sharing her joy, Savita Marsh, co-owner of Northwood Cards said: “I had been looking into printing some posters but they were far from as beautiful!!! We had realised on the day we received the lovely email from Matt how emotional we felt as there will be a ‘new normal’ in retailing for a while I suspect. We have screens, masks and gloves everything we thought would become a new necessity for reopening up. A new floor is being laid, making it a fresh start for when we reopen – and with super stylish posters too now!”
Penny Crook, owner of the Card and Gift Boutique in Southport, who has been busy during lockdown, continuing to offer home deliveries of balloons, cards and gifts is “over the moon” with the posters. “They are so beautiful and make the necessary task much more eye catching. I am also going give some to my sister to put up in the doctor’s surgery she manages. I really can’t wait to reopen and I have put everything in place including a one way system, two till points and two displays of Father’s Day to help with any social distancing.”
Shona Notman of Xpressions Gifts & Cards in Shoreham by Sea is another retailer who is delighted by Five Dollar’s aesthetic solution to a requirement and is having some printed for her shop windows as well as to use inside the shop.
“Shopping will undoubtedly change for a while and I personally feel that we need to give our customers confidence to shop in our Independents again and by putting all of these things in place hopefully our regular customers will return to the High Street again,” says Shona.
Matt confirmed to PG Buzz that the posters are available for all retailers, not just Five Dollar Shake stockists. “They just need to contact us,” said Matt.
John Lewis has confirmed it is to begin to reopen its shops for customers as part of a gradual approach from Monday 15 June. It will starting with its Poole and Kingston department stores, followed by 11 others on Thursday 18 June. Depending on the response from customers and Partners to the new ways of operating with respect to social distancing, more shops will open throughout the summer. Learning from the social distancing measures the retail group has taken in its Waitrose shops, the plan is for John Lewis to initially open just under a quarter of its shops as part of a steady, gradual approach with rigorous safety and social distancing measures in place. Branches selected to open have been chosen primarily because of their accessibility by car.
Top: Social distancing Five Dollar Shake style.