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Businesses in Stamford, Rutland and Bourne emphasise 'shop local' message ahead of April 12

Many excited business owners are set to open their doors to the public as the ‘shop local’ message is emphasised more than ever.

In the latest phase of restrictions easing, non-essential shops will be permitted to open for customers to browse from Monday (April 12).

Bethany Scott-Morris, owner of Iris and Violet in St Mary’s Street, Stamford, said: “I’m hoping it will be really busy. People have been at home for so long and with the weather changing into spring they will be eager to get out and get shopping.

Bethany Scott-Morris, owner of Iris ad Violet. Photo: Alan Walters
Bethany Scott-Morris, owner of Iris ad Violet. Photo: Alan Walters

“When we reopened last June it was just non-essential shops but this time we’ve got all the cafés where people can sit outside, pub gardens and beauticians. It will be good to have a really busy atmosphere along St Mary’s Street.”

Customers at Iris and Violet can try clothes on, which will be steam cleaned after each use to ensure they aren’t carrying covid particles.

Bethany said: “There’s a general nice shopping experience you don’t necessarily get when you order things online. Here people come for a chat and can try things on.”

Amanda Fowler at Buckles and Bows
Amanda Fowler at Buckles and Bows

The Government has permitted non-essential shops in England to stay open until 10pm six days a week. While Iris and Violet is returning with its usual opening hours, Bethany said if there is a demand for closing later they ‘would be really happy to do that’.

Samantha Arthur, owner of LolaWood in Uppingham, is feeling ‘relieved but anxious’ to open the doors to her shop on Tuesday.

She said:

“After the last lockdown I did quite well and everyone enjoyed coming out shopping again so I’m hoping it’s going to be like that.

“I just don’t know as it’s been such a long time.

“There’s people losing their jobs so the last thing they want to be doing is looking at gift shops.”

As non-essential retail reopens, Samantha has a clear message.

She said: “I’m always encouraging people to shop local, if you don’t then we wont exist - it’s as simple as that.

“It’s getting harder and harder and I do understand the ease of Amazon, I’ve used it myself, but sometimes nothing beats going to the shops and have a browse, picking things up and seeing things in the flesh.”

Lockdown has provided a positive for Buckles and Bows, a shoe shop in Bourne, which established a website to help keep afloat.

Amanda Fowler, owner, said: “The website has been a Godsend. We didn’t have one before but it’s bought us into the 21st century.

“We hope that when we get open we can keep the website as another buckle on our bow.”

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