Retailers react as shops reopen to customers again

Heidi Davies of Heartfelt by Heidi.

Heidi Davies of Heartfelt by Heidi. - Credit: Heidi Davies

Non-essential retail shops across the area have re-opened their doors for the first time this year.

From Monday, all retail reopened across England, marking step two of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown. 

Non-essential retail, libraries and community centres, zoos, gyms and beauty salons are open, but no household mixing indoors and the rule of six, or two households outdoors, still applies. Pub gardens and restaurants with outdoor seating also reopened this week.

Many businesses have been championed by North Somerset Council through its Welcome Back to Your High Street campaign to support businesses in the town centre which have faced months of coronavirus-related closures. 

The Mercury has spoken to several independent traders across the patch who are excited to be welcoming customers back to their stores.

Layan Nourouz of Bobbins Studio.

Layan Nourouz of Bobbins Studio. - Credit: Layan Nourouz

Bobbins Studio, in Locking.

The Manor Court shop has been transformed into a fully-stocked wool shop and a studio to continue doing alterations, upholstery and classes. 

Owner Layan Nourouz said: "I work on film and television but opened Bobbins three years ago as a base to make my costumes in and have the front part as a shop. I'm now a radio presenter too but Bobbins is still going strong this year. 

Bobbins Studios.

Bobbins Studios. - Credit: Layan Nourouz

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"I was very excited to reopen this week, it's a village shop and over the past three years, I've got to know so many people in the village that I've missed. Many come in to say hello and catch up, having grown up in London that's just a sense of community I couldn't get there. 

"Throughout lockdown I've had lots of messages of support from customers, that's what keeps independent businesses going."

Christopher Hawkins outside Christopher's House of Chocolates.

Christopher Hawkins outside Christopher's House of Chocolates. - Credit: Henry Woodsford

Christopher's House of Chocolates, in Weston.

The independent chocolatier relocated to Meadow Street and opened in the former Replenish unit in December. Husband and wife Christopher and Vicky Hawkins had been operating from a small unit on the Oldmixon for the past three-and-a-half years on a part-time basis.

The store reopened on Tuesday and is full of tasty delights. Covid-safe measures are also in place in-store.

Good and Proper, in Regent Street.

Good and Proper, in Regent Street. - Credit: Paul Blakemore

Good & Proper Zero, in Weston.

The independent zero waste refill store has been open to customers in Regent Street for goods and takeaway coffees throughout lockdown, but from Tuesday the store gradually reopened and customers are now able to enjoy coffees and snacks on the store's outdoor patio.

Heartfelt by Heidi's interior.

Heartfelt by Heidi's interior. - Credit: Heidi Davies

Heartfelt by Heidi, in West Wick.

Heidi Davies runs her small craft business and gift shop that opened in January 2020 and has been closed more than it has been open over the past 12 months.

Heidi said: "I have a small studio with the shop at Box Bush Farm, in Summer Lane. I run craft workshops, specialising in needle felting and sell craft items and gifts, many handmade.

"My workshops are always light-hearted with the emphasis on having fun while learning a new skill.

Heartfelt by Heidi's interior.

Heartfelt by Heidi's interior. - Credit: Heidi Davies

"Needle felting is incredibly rewarding and suitable for practically anyone with a level of dexterity.

"Besides being great fun, it is relaxing and good for the mind, with a little knowledge it frees us to create whatever
we choose with a little bit of guidance."

Anna Southwell from Loves who is offering takeaway roast dinners and selling vegetable boxes.

Anna Southwell from Loves who is offering takeaway roast dinners and selling vegetable boxes. - Credit: Archant

Loves Café, in Weston.

The West Street café has been open for takeaways of food and drink during lockdown. The café has very limited outside space with just a couple of tables, which, for now, will be first-come, first-served.

The venue has also been live-streaming gigs online and will continue to organise shows in the coming months.

A Loves spokesman said: "Thanks to everyone for all their lovely support during this last lockdown.

"We’ve been busier than ever with takeaways and deliveries and have enjoyed all the wonderful feedback from our community about their vegan goodies.

"Please do go and support all the other brilliant indies here in Weston who do have outdoor space though, and we are sure we will see you there, in a beer garden, at some point soon."