Has the town centres’ loss been good news for Suffolk’s independent businesses?
PUBLISHED: 16:27 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:27 02 September 2020
While businesses in town and city centres are desperate for employees to go back to their normal workplaces to bring their spending power back to their commercial hearts, some companies – especially independent shops – have done well in the new way of working.
There has been growing concern that the lack of office workers is threatening many town centre businesses that rely on the lunchtime trade – especially sandwich shops, takeaways and food stores where staff might pick up something for their evening meal at lunchtime.
However people working at home have discovered their local convenience stores, bakeries and delivery services – which in many cases are now doing more business than they have in the past.
One business that has been given a boost is Krusty’s Bakery which has two shops in residential areas of Ipswich – on Dales Road and Reynolds Road – and on High Road (East) in Felixstowe.
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It closed its shops at the start of the lockdown in March, but within two weeks had launched a delivery service around the area which quickly became popular with people working at home who wanted to buy fresh baked foods – including sandwiches and filled rolls.
The stores reopened from the end of May – and now there are frequently queues outside as customer numbers have risen. And the delivery services are carrying on.
Katie Mackintosh from Krusty’s said: “We seem to be busier than ever. People come in for our bread, sandwiches and baked items and many of them are working for home and they’re buying the kind of things they’d normally want.
“And the deliveries are still popular. Some people are working and can’t get out of the house at lunchtime and others are still self-isolating and rely on us for their bread and cakes that they can’t come out to get – that’s been a great success.”
The family-owned company run by Glen and Michelle Goldsmith had not taken on more staff – but this had helped to secure the jobs of those already working there.
There is a similar story in other towns. James Lightfoot of Choose Woodbridge said several small businesses there had started delivery services during the lockdown which were continuing – even though an increasing number of people were using their actual shops since they had reopened.
He said: “There are bakeries, greengrocers and convenience stores that have started delivering and are continuing to do so – and many businesses in the town are certainly seeing the benefit of more people being about now. We have adapted well here.”
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