Shop Local: ‘We’re not just a shop. We’re part of the community’
- Credit: Archant
The owner of a key cutting service in Weston will remain open during the lockdown to support businesses and loyal customers.
Nigel Palmer, who owns Heels 2 Toes, in High Street, closed the store during the first lockdown in March, but offered an emergency key cutting service.
Heels 2 Toes is a family-run business which offers shoe and handbag repairs, key cutting and watch repairs.
For the second lockdown, Nigel has furloughed his staff, and will run the shop by himself to safeguard his business.
Talking about the issues facing businesses forced to close, he said: “It’s not so much closing, it’s building it back up afterwards.
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“That’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to keep it open and doing it myself.
“We come under key cutting and hardware, so we can open over that side of it.
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“I had about 20 phone calls on Wednesday asking if I’d still be open.
“When we locked down the first time I just did an emergency service.
“It wasn’t a lot but it kept us there and helped a lot of people.”
Nigel also volunteered as an NHS responder during the first lockdown – which involved picking up medicines for people self-isolating and calling regularly to check up on them.
Supporting people in the community and other independent businesses is something Nigel believes will help high streets to survive.
He said: “I’ve been trading for 30 years, and in this shop for 23 years.
“I’ve been through two recessions but this has been the hardest year. The Government has been good in its support for small businesses.
“The high street has been declining for quite a while – the pandemic hasn’t helped but it’s due to a combination of things.
“We are all in the same boat and we do need the support of local people.
“We need independent businesses in the town. It’s not just about the big boys.
“We’re not just a shop, we’re like a pub or a post office.
“People come in and have a chat.
“It’s not like Tesco, where you are rushed through.
“We actually chat to people. We are part of the community.”