Shops in Worksop are ready for opening in Worksop on Monday after 'toughest year ever'
Shoppers are urged to support their local high street after what has been an unimaginably tough year for our independent businesses in Worksop.
Our Nottinghamshire town has always been brimming with charm and potential, and there’s no better time to support local shops than on April 12 when non-essential retailers will finally be able to open their doors again.
Here, we speak to Worksop businesses who are ready to welcome back customers and move forward from the challenges of the past year.
Jane Parkinson is company director at Waddington menswear on Bridge Place.
The family-run business is one of Worksop’s longest-standing, having been founded by Jane’s grandfather in 1930.
The pandemic has posed the biggest challenge for Waddington’s since the miner’s strike in the 1980s, and staff are ‘desperate and delighted’ to welcome customers back, Jane said.
She added: “It’s been such a tough year for us, but then again it has been for everyone.
"We’ve always been a face-to-face business. We don’t sell on the internet, people come to us for service and expertise.
"I’ve delivered a few pieces out to customers who have enquired, but it hasn’t been the same. We had to furlough our staff and I’ve been checking in once or twice a week to check everything’s still standing.
"But we’ve been lucky as we own the property and therefore have been able to ride out the storm.
"We’re desperate for customers to return and support their local high street, it’s vital for the survival of all the independent businesses in our town.
"Waddington has always had a loyal, core customer base and we’d be nothing without our local supporters.
"The doors will be open from 9am to 5pm from April 12. Covid measures will be in place but customers are welcome to come and go as normal.
"As the dry cleaners in Worksop has now closed, we want everyone to know we are offering dry cleaning services for anyone who needs them.
“We’re open for business whether that’s for wedding hire, suits to hire or buy, and of course spring and summer stock for anyone with holidays coming up.”
Jayne Otter, owner of House of Elegance at the top of Bridge Street, launched the business 30 years ago and agreed that 2020 had been the toughest yet.
"It’s been hard, both emotionally and financially,” she said. “I’ve been a bit apprehensive about reopening but I want continue with my life and the financial support offered by the Government has just not been adequate.
"But I’m still here and will be back on April 12, ready to welcome everyone back. I’ll be here for the the next week getting everything together, renewing displays and organising.
"During the first lockdown we packed everything away and renovated the shop, so have a new look for reopening.
"We’ve got lots of beautiful outfits and are getting enquiries for occasionwear bookings all the time, which can be booked via our website, on Facebook or over the phone. I’m feeling positive.”
Helen Parry, owner of Carlton House Vintage, Arts and Craft Centre was devastated when the pandemic forced her to temporarily close the business, but said she had been comforted by messages of support from customers over lockdown.
She said: “It’s been challenging, but a useful insight into the wealth of support there actually is for Worksop businesses out there. The good people of Worksop truly want to see us survive.
"I’ve been getting daily messages from customers letting us know how missed we are. We’re more than a shop, we’ve become a kind of community hub.”
Carlton House will fully reopen on April 27 but until then will be offering tearoom outdoor table service from its courtyard from 10am-4pm Tuesday to Saturday.
The courtyard has been transformed into a ‘staycation courtyard’ with a seaside feel.
"We have always joked that the courtyard is Costa Del Carlton,” said Helen. “It’s a beautiful space and a real suntrap, we’d be silly not to make the most of it.”
Meanwhile, Aurora Wellbeing will be opening up a temporary tea room and charity shop on Bridge Street as well as beauty therapy services at Sparkles on Kilton Road from April 12.
Debra Fores, centre manager, said: “We are delighted that the Aurora shop, tea room and our beauty therapy services can reopen on Aptil 12, as this is our way of raising funds for our local charity.
"The money customers spend is invested back into the charity to enable us to develop new services and continue to support local families affected by cancer, so it is very welcome news.
"Thank you to everyone for your ongoing support and please pop in for a cuppa and a slice of our homemade cake, we’ve missed you.”
Philip Jackson, chairman of Worksop Business Forum, said: “We are looking forward to seeing the high street shops open again.
"Some shops currently have staff back at work preparing the stores for opening on April 12.
“I am aware that a few stores have had to permanently close during the past few weeks, and our best wishes go to the staff and managers of those businesses.
“We ask people to spend locally to help businesses to get back on there feet and look forward to seeing a busy town centre.”