‘It’s been a great day for business’: Hackney shops reopen after coronavirus lockdown

Shoppers queue outside Primark in the Narrow Way as non-essential shops open to the public after wee

Shoppers queue outside Primark in the Narrow Way as non-essential shops open to the public after weeks of coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Andy Commons - Credit: Archant

As queues for fast fashion shop Primark extended down the Narrow Way, independent non-essential shops in Hackney also reported a good day of trading as they welcomed customers back through their doors after coronavirus lockdown today.

As part of the government’s lockdown easing, shops around the UK have been allowed to reopen for the first time since late March, as long as they follow Covid-19 guidelines and carry out a risk assessment.

Broadway Market fashion shop Retrouvé Vintage saw a steady flow of customers. Owner Ginny Burnett told the Gazette: “It’s been a great day’s trading. I didn’t open until 11, and by 12 I was getting serious customers in. I’m exhausted.

“I wasn’t really expecting that. There is good footfall on Broadway Market but I wasn’t sure whether that would translate into sales.”

She is asking all customers – who are allowed in three at a time - to use hand sanitiser and is giving them the option of wearing gloves. Ginny wears a mask herself but is leaving it up to clients whether they do the same.

She has put social distancing stickers inside the shop, and everyone is being asked to walk around clockwise.

She cleans the changing rooms with disinfectant spray after each use and is steaming all the clothes that are tried on.

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“It is full on, and I can just about manage, but I don’t know how that will work on a Saturday,” said Ginny who also has a branch in Wilton Way.

“It might just be it’s the first day back and everyone is keen. Who knows what the long term outlook will be.”

She has been selling more garments online during lockdown, and thinks that she will have to push that side of business more in the future. The Hackney Draper, a fabrics shop in Chatsworth Road, Lower Clapton, has also pushed its online presence since the lockdown, and will continue to do so, and will soon have 100 per cent of their stock, which includes homewares, lamps, bags and skincare listed online.

But manager Tolani Moibi told the Gazette the reopening of the shop has been successful.

“We’ve been overwhelmed, both online with click and collect, and in store as customers come in and show their support,” she said. “We have followed the government guidance as much as we felt we could comfortably do in store, like letting people in two at a time, asking customers to use anti-bac when in-store and touching any products, and asking them to order online as much as they can.”

Donlon Books in Broadway Market, has also pushed trade online since lockdown, and had a more tentative opening today.

“We are apprehensive about re-opening,” said shop worker Clem McLoud.

“Today was about getting the shop in order, because a lot of distributors are closed. We do have a lot of stock but it’s been difficult getting stuff in. “We haven’t decided fully but we will probably be doing from 12 to six. A couple of people stopped by today, but we aren’t really fully open. We were letting people come in if they pop their heads in.”