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Lockdown love: Engagement ring sales set to soar as independents reopen

PUBLISHED: 15:41 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:41 15 June 2020

Maddermarket Antiques owner Mr Billy believes engagement ring sales will have a boost now that independents have reopened. Picture: Archant

Maddermarket Antiques owner Mr Billy believes engagement ring sales will have a boost now that independents have reopened. Picture: Archant

Archant

Independent businesses are hoping for a delayed summer boom as customers return to the city as shops reopen.

Owner of No.33, Nicola Hay, one of the independent shops open in Norwich as lockdown is eased. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOwner of No.33, Nicola Hay, one of the independent shops open in Norwich as lockdown is eased. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Norwich Lanes were buzzing with customers again today as shops reopened for the first time since March, with many people choosing to buy local and keep wealth in the local economy.

Workers and bosses in cafes to clothes shops were delighted to finally get back behind the counter – and backed this newspaper’s Love Local campaign.

MORE: ‘I couldn’t sleep’: Excited city shoppers welcome back stores

Manager Jonny George, left, and owner Paul Dodd, at Elements, one of the non-essential independent shops reopening in Norwich as lockdown is eased. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYManager Jonny George, left, and owner Paul Dodd, at Elements, one of the non-essential independent shops reopening in Norwich as lockdown is eased. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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“It’s really nice that people are choosing to come to us over chains,” said Nicole Hay, owner of family-run café No.33. “We source everything we use within Norwich pretty much – if not within Norfolk. We get our fish down on Magdalen Street and get lots of our produce from the market. It’s helping to keep other local businesses in business.”

Ms Hay has been running No.33 on weekends but opened for seven-day service from today.

The queue at No.33, one of the independent shops open  in Norwich as lockdown is eased. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe queue at No.33, one of the independent shops open in Norwich as lockdown is eased. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

As a crowd gathered outside the café’s door she said: “We hope people will continue to come down and support us. Lockdown has given us the opportunity to rework the menu a bit so we’re excited for people to try it.”

At Maddermarket Antiques in Lower Goat Lane the owner, known lovingly to his customers simply as ‘Billy’, said: “I think we will see a surge in people coming in to buy engagement rings. You can’t buy a diamond worth thousands online, so I think we’ll see the customers coming in who couldn’t buy for three months.”

Billy, who has run the store for 33 years, added: “We sell antiques, we sell second-hand and we sell new. On top of that we pride ourselves on quality and we know our stuff inside out, that’s something you don’t necessarily get at other larger jewellers.”

A few doors up at clothing retailer Element, manager Jonny George said: “It’s really nice to be back. There’s a loyal following of customers within the lanes and we had two sales go through within a few hours of opening.

“I think people want to support us because we’ve been here for over 20 years. They know us, they’re our mates and they can get stuff here they can’t get elsewhere.”


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