Town traders defiant in face of Covid-19 as re-opening date in sight
PUBLISHED: 10:54 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:54 19 May 2020
It will take more than coronavirus to finish us off.
That was the defiant pledge from a family business which has served west Norfolk for almost 30 years, as traders in King’s Lynn get set to re-open.
June 1 has been mooted as a date when some so-called non-essential shops can re-open.
Amanda Arterton, who owns Artertons furniture store on the High Street with her husband Colin, said the business was gearing up to resume trading. She believes its loyal customer base will help it to bounce back.
“Most of our customers are sensitive to the personal touch, which you don’t get from online shops like Amazon and the rest,” she said.
“Opening on June 1 is being hinted at, so we will have to wait and see. Although closed, we’ve been maintaining the store, cleaning the vans and keeping paperwork up to date. We will arrange the store in such a way to ensure social distancing is maintained.
“King’s Lynn is a unique and historically interesting town. I think it will take a lot more than Covid-19 to finish this town off.”
MORE - Tourism bosses hope to reopen in July Artertons’ three staff have been placed on furlough through the coronavirus outbreak. Those across the road at Debenhams will not have jobs to go back to, as the troubled store chain said the branch will not be reopening because it could not agree “appropriate terms” with its landlord.
The store is one of around 20 out of 140 branches which will remain closed.
Shops could be allowed to re-open in phases from June 1 - provided the virus does not flare up again. But it remains to see whether the shoppers will come flocking back to town centres.
Discover King’s Lynn, the town’s business improvemnt district (BID), is preparing to support retailers with advice and signage.
“To say that most town centre businesses are having a hard time at the moment would be an understatement,” said BID manager Vicky Etheridge.
“It’s really hard to know whether come June 1, the streets are going to be busy again or not. There’s so much uncertainty, so many question, it’s making things really hard for people.”
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