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‘I don’t know how we’ll survive’ - Toy shop owner’s worries over lockdown closure

PUBLISHED: 08:40 06 November 2020 | UPDATED: 11:07 06 November 2020

Sharon Cleary owner of Toy Joy Oasis in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

Sharon Cleary owner of Toy Joy Oasis in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

Archant

“For a toy shop to close at this time of year it’s horrendous.”

Sharon Cleary owner of Toy Joy Oasis in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesSharon Cleary owner of Toy Joy Oasis in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

That was the reaction of an independent family-run business owner as they faced up to the bleak prospect of closing their doors for a second time this year.

Sharon Cleary, owner of Toy Joy Oasis on London Road North, had only been open for four days in her town centre premises when businesses across the country were forced to close in March during the first lockdown.

Sharon Cleary owner of Toy Joy Oasis in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick HowesSharon Cleary owner of Toy Joy Oasis in Lowestoft. Picture: Mick Howes

And now, after prime minister Boris Johnson announced a month-long national lockdown, she is fearing for the future.

The family-run business sells new, pre-owned and vintage collectable toys, featuring a large selection of new toys and a wide range of upcycled toys.

Having previously been on Lowestoft High Street for a year, Toy Joy Oasis moved to a new town centre shop in March – but having been open for only four days they had to close.

Mrs Cleary said: “Toy Joy Oasis is Britain’s most easterly toy shop, but unfortunately as we’re classed as a non essential shop we have to close our shop until December 2.

“I have always loved toys, and it started off from a hobby collecting toys before turning into this, my first business.

“We had only been in Lowestoft High Street for a year when the rent was doubled and we decided to move into a lot bigger premises here in the town centre.

“It is a lot better for passing footfall and trade here.

“We signed the lease in March, spent a couple of weeks getting everything ready and then opened – but four days later we had to close due to lockdown.

“So a lot of people still don’t know we are actually here – it’s really hard.

“When we reopened after the lockdown it picked up, but now I don’t how we are going to survive.

“Tesco, and other places, have been cutting their prices – I can’t do that.

“We rely on November and December and not being open we still have to pay the bills – its so disheartening.

“It really could not have been at a worse time for us.”

Issuing a rallying call to the public to back local businesses, Mrs Cleary said: “The message is to support the local businesses and shop local – its all the small businesses, not just me.

“All the businesses around here are really helpful and positive.

“During lockdown we will still be offering a home delivery service as well as a click and collect service.

“We have plenty of new toys and gifts in store for Christmas, as well as new Christmas gift vouchers that are available.”

With Toy Joy Oasis running home delivery and click and collect services throughout lockdown, to support them visit its page on Facebook – www.facebook.com/pages/category/Toy-Store/TOY-JOY-OASIS-2022021658094119/


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