This ad will be closed automatically in X seconds.

Indies Prepare To Come Out Of Lockdown

With Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday (May 10) heralding June 1 as the date, all being well, that ‘non-essential’ retailers will be open their doors once again, the nation’s card retailers are among those to be putting plans in place for their likely approach.

Leading indies, Chris and Tracey Bryant, the husband and wife team who own Expressions (in Swindon), Cats Whiskers (Bishops Cleeve) and Polkadot (in Keynsham), are well on the case, having spent the weekend kitting out their Swindon store in readiness.

Above: Chris behind the new screen at the till point in Expressions in Swindon.
Above: Chris behind the new screen at the till point in Expressions in Swindon.

“It’s not going to be easy, on a personal, operational or financial front, but we are retailers and want to be back trading as soon as we can. We have so missed it,” said Tracey, who has diverted a lot of her attentions into the business’ online portal (www.catswhiskersuk.com) since the lockdown, having now loaded 500 different card designs as well as a selection of gifts. “We used to do around £100 a month online, but last month this was up to £4,300. Even when we are up and running again I suspect that some customers will continue to buy online. We need to cover all angles.”

Above: Online sales of The Cats Whiskers site has increased hugely during lockdown.
Above: Online sales of The Cats Whiskers site has increased hugely during lockdown.

Talking of ‘angles’ Chris and Tracey spent a lot of the weekend in the Expressions store installing a screen near the till, affixing social distancing tape and adding some appropriate signage to detail the social distancing rules.

Above: Hand sanitiser and face masks at the ready!
Above: Hand sanitiser and face masks at the ready!

“One down two to go!” exclaimed Chris, having spent much of the day on his hands and knees, as well as brandishing a tape measure and drill.

Above: Chris measuring out where to put the social distanced tape.
Above: Chris measuring out where to put the social distanced tape.

Chris explains that the ‘refurbishment’ has been something of a collaborative effort. “My good friend Tom McKenzie (of Quay Imports) made the screens, the social distancing tape was supplied by Mike Ball and our good friends at The Card Shop Portishead, with whom we have been working to procure PPE for our team and customers and we downloaded some signage from Morplan.”

Above: What the counter area looks like now in the Bryants’ Expressions store.
Above: What the counter area looks like now in the Bryants’ Expressions store.

Having talked things through with their members of staff, Chris and Tracey are planning for the staged opening, trading on reduced hours initially.

“It has been so lovely to receive the comments from customers on Facebook who are looking to support us when we can re-open safely,” added Tracey.

Top: Chris and Tracey Bryant can’t wait until their three stores can re-open.

MORE NEWS
CF agm Feature Image
 
But agm result raises shareholders’ concerns over chairman Paul Moody...
staff changes Feature Image
 
Staff changes at Cardfactory, Woodmansterne, Ohh Deer and Rainbow Designs...
FD roundup 2 Feature Image
 
Positivity surrounds retailers’ reactions to Father’s Day sales...
Cardgains north Feature Image
 
£35,000 target for next week’s It’s Not Grim Up North challenge in aid of Mind...
New Designers Feature image
 
Long-lasting New Designers sponsorship keeps graduate innovation flowing...
Small biz 100 apply Feature Image
 
#SmallBiz100 organisers looking for most impressive independent companies...
Get the latest news sent to your inbox
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

The list doesn't exist! Make sure you have imported the list on the 'Manage List Forms' page.