Zero-waste store celebrates successful first year on town’s high street

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Lorraine Le Grice, Owner of Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop. Pictures: BR

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Lorraine Le Grice, Owner of Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

A zero-waste store is set to celebrate their first anniversary next week having been forced to adapt to protect customers and staff.

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Left Lorraine Le Grice, Owner of Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop, Craig

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Left Lorraine Le Grice, Owner of Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop, Craig Rivett, deputy council leader and Alice Taylor Director at Lowestoft Vision. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Uncle Sid’s, on Lowestoft’s historic High Street, opened their doors for the first time in October 2019.

But as well as having a wealth of increased offerings and stock, the store’s husband and wife owners David and Lorraine Le Grice have been forced to make several changes to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Le Grice said: “We have been open a whole year on Monday, and it has been a learning curve, but things have gone very well.

“The community has been very supportive towards us.

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Lorraine Le Grice, Owner of Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop. Pictures: BRI

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Lorraine Le Grice, Owner of Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant


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“We were able to stay open all through lockdown, but David was shielding so we became employers for the first time.

“We had to work on a day-to-day basis, learning about what worked and what didn’t with feedback from our customers.

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This week, this newspaper has launched our Shop Local campaign, encouraging residents to support local businesses during this time, whether in store on online.

We’re asking you to get out and spend, spend, spend to support local shops this Christmas and beyond - and they can’t wait to welcome you.

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Eden Hall at Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Eden Hall at Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

This newspaper’s Shop Local campaign is a use-it-or-lose-it plea to shoppers to consider independent traders and businesses to give our much-loved high streets a life-saving boost.

East Suffolk Council have also encouraged residents to back their local businesses, with deputy council leader Craig Rivett visiting Sweeties and Saxons in the town earlier this week.

And we want shoppers to not just hit the high street, but also to think local when shopping on the web, with so many local traders now offering online options.

At the heart of the campaign is an effort to keep money in the local economy.

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Louise Hall, Phoenix and Eden shopping at Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop.

Lowestoft Shop Local Campaign. Louise Hall, Phoenix and Eden shopping at Uncle Sids Zero Waste Shop. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Experts say that for every £1 spent at an independent business, 63p ends up stayIng here - compared to just 5p spent at a national or international retailer.

East Suffolk Council have also encouraged residents to back their local businesses, with deputy leader Craig Rivett visiting the High Street store this week.

Mrs Le Grice said: “We started taking online orders for people to come and collect at a time which suited them.

“It has been very important for us to go online too because we need to look to the future.

“This isn’t going away and we could be seeing the second spike, so being able to adapt to the situation is vital as a small business.

“We have had great support from customers and the Heritage Action Zone to be able to get to where we are and stay open, and we have some great local suppliers too.

Alice Taylor, director of Lowestoft Vision, urged shoppers to “think twice” when looking online this Christmas.

She said: “Campaigns like these are beyond important because you are not just buying things to suit our family and friends, you are supporting your community.

“The money you spend goes back into the community and keeps people in jobs.

“These local shops put their heart and soul into it and it is so important to think twice when you go online - Can you buy it locally and support your neighbours?”

The store had to introduce a number of changes in a bid to keep customers and staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Le Grice said: “The first thing we had to do was stop people being able to serve themselves, and only allowing one customer or family in the store at a time.

“We have to serve everybody which, I’m sure a lot of other shops will agree, makes it a more personal level of service.

“Because it’s one-on-one, it allows us to form friendships and relationships with our customers.”

The store is one of a number in Waveney who have worked with East Suffolk Council following the launch of their own shop local campaign.

The council have complied information on safety measures, how businesses have adapted, guidance and advice.

Deputy council leader Craig Rivett said: “We have launched this great online campaign because it is important to reassure people that they can safely visit these excellent businesses and help our high streets.

“There are just over 60 days to Christmas and it is never too early to start thinking about it.

It is commendable to see the resilience of local shop owners who have adapted to the current situation and made it work.”

Council leader Steve Gallant said: “Businesses have adapted quickly and shown great strength and tenacity.”

For more information, go to eastsuffolkmeansbusiness.co.uk.

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