‘It’s going to be a good summer’: town traders bounce back
PUBLISHED: 09:58 19 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:58 19 July 2020
Businesses in an east coast town are hoping to receive a summer boost as more and more people look to spend their time on holiday or enjoying days out locally.
And as dozens of families flocked to Lowestoft on Saturday, the town could be set to reap the rewards of a bumper staycation summer.
With the town centre, beaches and promenade bustling with visitors, the good weather attracted hundreds of people to the beach and seafront area, with locals and holidaymakers observing the social distancing.
There were queues outside shops and cafés, while Lowestoft seafront was very busy as visitors basked in the sunshine.
After losing months of trade to the coronavirus crisis, beleaguered businesses are “positive” about the coming months ahead.
The Hotel Victoria, on Kirkley Cliff Road, Lowestoft reopened on July 4, and they have already had a “great response” from guests and locals.
Adam Greenfield, business owner, said: “I think its going to be a good summer.
“We have had a lot of staycation visitors already with people extending their scheduled two-day breaks.
“Accommodation is at 95 per cent (full), so we are really busy.
“When we reopened I did not expect it to be so busy, I was hoping we could get to 65pc – so we are delighted as we have had people from all over stay with us.”
“The message is to support the local companies, who have had a tough time over the past 15 weeks.”
Waveney MP Peter Aldous is due to open a new tourist information office at Lowestoft Railway Station on Monday, July 20.
It means that Lowestoft – for the first time in five years – will have its own dedicated, large-scale tourist information office once more.
Ahead of the unveiling of the new facility, Mr Aldous said it was “very timely as we come out of the lockdown and in advance of the summer holidays.”
Dan Poitras, chairman of Lowestoft Vision – the business improvement district for the town – added: “With the station located in the centre of town, easy to walk to the beach or stroll left up London Road North to cafés, restaurants, banks, estate agents, solicitors and of course shopping, it couldn’t be more convenient for visitors.”
Among those enjoying a local holiday were Rex and Elaine Clarke, of Ipswich.
Enjoying a “lovely walk” along the promenade, Mr and Mrs Clarke were enjoying their stay in Lowestoft as they spent a week in a caravan at Heathland Beach caravan park in Kessingland.
Mr Clarke said: “We do love coming here.
“We walk from Kessingland to the South Pier, and we love the beaches which are some of the best beaches around.”
Mrs Clarke added: “I find it very relaxing and it is great for your well-being.”
While many families enjoyed the sun-drenched sands others took to a spot of fishing or crabbing from the popular children’s corner area. Jacob Zurawka, 10, and Sharlene Holder – who moved from London to Lowestoft a couple of years ago – were among them, as Jacob landed this impressive crab.
Andrew Ling, director of Sandy Toes Lowestoft Ltd, has run the ice cream kiosk on South Beach, Lowestoft for eight years.
He is also in the third year of leasing the East Point Pavilion tea rooms, which reopened on Saturday, July 18.
Mr Ling said: “We have seen a mixture of both locals and holidaymakers from London and Essex visiting the town.
“Since we came off lockdown I have been able to open Sandy Toes for the last two months as we offer takeaway.
“We have some really good days and in early June it was really busy.
The last couple of weeks the weather has not been so great.
“But I am positive, as long as the weather is kind to us.
“As long as the sun is shining I am sure the trade will be there.
“We have got six weeks now with the East Point Pavilion tea rooms and I think a lot of Lowestoft people need to rediscover the seafront.
“The message would be rediscover what’s on your doorstep – its a great day out for the family and Lowestoft has a lot to offer as the beach and seafront area is so nice.”
Matthew Goddard, managing director of Picture Studios in London Road North, Lowestoft, said: “As a business owner with sites in Lowestoft and Norwich the thought of people choosing to ‘staycation’ could greatly help our local economy.
“If people will be spending their money locally this summer, this would give the boost we greatly need.
“With East Anglia being a popular UK holiday destination and Lowestoft’s award winning beaches we could even benefit with more visitors from outside the area too as people are also choosing not to get on planes this year and find holiday destinations within our own country.
“Since reopening back in June, Picture Studios had been extremely busy and we owe a lot of thanks to all the local families that continue to choose us to capture their memories on camera time after time.”
A new café opened its doors in Lowestoft town centre this week – and the owner is hoping that the government guidelines will soon allow them to open its soft play area as well.
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Mark Jones, owner of Funny Farm soft play and barn, has transformed the former Poundstretcher premises on London Road North in Lowestoft – and he is encouraging people to “come along and check it out.”
Mr Jones, who has recently moved to Lowestoft from London, said: “We deliberately chose this building as its in the town centre.
“We hope that when people walk past with their shopping, or if they are out shopping with their children, they can pop in here.”
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