Lanark retailers welcome back customers with new #LanarkLovesYou campaign
Lanark retailers including McKellars Jewellers and Petite Boutique are ready for business
As pubs, restaurants and hairdressers get the green light to reopen, following on from non-essential shops last month, Lanark retailers are delighted to welcome back safely face to face customers.
As we emerge from lockdown, Discover Lanark Business Improvement District (BID) has launched a campaign, Lanark Loves You, to encourage community support for local businesses.
With many traders unable to operate for almost four months, retailers and service providers now need the local community to rediscover the diversity of shopping opportunities and amenities on their doorstep and reconnect with the town centre.
McKellars Jewellers is just one of the businesses well stocked and ready to receive customers when people feel comfortable to get out and about.
Owner, Ken Scott, said: “It’s great to see all our regular customers again and it’s great to see new faces too.
“Everyone has been very supportive, and all the local businesses just need the local support to get back on their feet again.”
Antonia Pompa, Discover Lanark BID Manager, feels that now more than ever is the time to support your local businesses.
She said: "We have seen what it's like to have empty streets and shops with their shutters down. Now our businesses need the support of local residents to get back open successfully. Everyone has worked really hard to make their premises safe and welcoming. The rest is down to all of us. Lanark is open; come and enjoy the town safely."
It’s understandable that some people will be nervous to hit the high street after months of lockdown and while we have all become accustomed to leaving the house for essential purposes only, as we enter Phase 3, local businesses will not survive if we don’t change our shopping habits.
To comply with social distancing measures at McKellars, only three customers are permitted in store at one time, floor markers and signs are clearly visible, staff wear visors and plastic screens have been installed around the till.
One advantage of having fewer shoppers in stores at any one time is the opportunity for a more personal service - businesses will be better positioned to give expert advice on purchases, get to know customers better and develop community spirit.
For Tracy Weir, owner of Petite Boutique Gold and Silver, welcoming customers into her premises for some socially distanced interaction is an important part of her service.
She said: “Some people just like to come in and say hello and have a look and there’s no pressure to buy and a lot of my regulars were desperate to get back in.
“I’ve had lots of messages of support and I’ve certainly missed all my customers.”
In recent months, many Lanarkians have been forced to work from home or are unable to jet off on holiday in the current climate. With shops now open, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of a lunch break or more flexible work pattern and explore the towns retails outlets and services.
Before heading out, it’s a good idea to download the LoyalFree app and tap into discounts and loyalty rewards being offered by local outlets. Participating retailers include New Lanark Spinning Co, Brooks Menswear and Ladieswear, Solely Tempted by Brooks, Jappacakes, Flowers by Lesley Strachan and McKellars Jewellers - with more savings deals being added.
As the restrictions ease many local businesses are going that extra mile to provide exceptional customer service, safely. The Duke's Deli is just one eatery reopening on 15 July with ‘new normal’ systems in place, including queuing, a one-way system, screens and automatic hand sanitizers, and owner Stuart Anderson and his team are excited at the prospect of, once again, greeting customers face to face.
The deli has been operating a click and collect service during lockdown which will continue alongside the ‘sit in’ option and Stuart said the support from his customers had been overwhelming, allowing the business to continue trading safely for the last few months.
The relaxation of restrictions in Phase 3 will also allow essential service providers to operate more freely. Castlegate Cleaners have remained open for laundry and dry cleaning throughout lockdown but have now reintroduced their alteration service.
While shutting down occurred almost instantly, reopening is proving to be a much more gradual process as government guidelines emerge and businesses prepare to trade under the new regulations. To find out what’s open and when, visit the Discover Lanark Business Directory - here you will also find links to the websites and Facebook pages of your favourite shops, providing up to date information.
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented difficulties for businesses throughout the world and Lanark companies face challenging times. To ensure our town centre remains vibrant and successful, local businesses need continued community support to survive. When you’re ready, it’s time to get out, discover, support and Love Lanark - safely.
Article by Alison Gilchrist