Shop Local: ‘Without support for our independent shops the reality is St Albans could become a ghost town.’

Eve and Adam Spa in St Albans.

Eve and Adam Spa in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

For the district’s health and wellbeing providers, the coronavirus pandemic has brought about sweeping changes in the way they operate.

Eve and Adam Spa in St Albans.

Eve and Adam Spa in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

A post-lockdown revamp at Eve and Adam day spa in Catherine Street made it easier to promote social distancing, while track and trace, temperature checks, PPE changes and a thorough clean-down after every client visit ensures a totally safe environment.

But now uncertainty hangs over the business once more as the second lockdown forced it to shut up shop again.

Owner Sally Shepherd said on top of the increased anxiety surrounding Covid, she is also facing a proposed rent increase, so a successful Christmas is extremely important: “Without it who knows what 2021 will bring, but the lack of social seasonal engagements is highly likely to impact on our services.

“We do have a very loyal client base, and people still need something to de-stress and help them feel good about themselves during such uncertain times.”

Eve and Adam Spa in St Albans.

Eve and Adam Spa in St Albans. - Credit: Archant

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She is backing the Herts Ad’s #ShopLocal campaign: “Without support for our independent shops the reality is the city could become a ghost town.

“Many independents are owned by people living in St Albans and the surrounding areas who help create the city’s unique personality, but this is in danger of evaporating.

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“I understand the convenience of online shopping, but it’s also important to get out into the fresh air where you can see what you’re buying, rather than sitting in the same four walls clicking on the conglomerate websites.”

Robert Roope, who runs independent opticians Black Eyewear in George Street, says the lockdowns have made it difficult for customers to get the help they need, so he offered online ideas on how to self-maintain glasses for people stuck at home.

Although they have not been hit as hard by the pandemic as other traders, thanks in part to their long-standing customer relationships, Robert is concerned about many of the small independent businesses around them, who help them to feel part of a shopping community rather than out on a limb.

“Money spent with independent businesses helps to support the local economy and enrich the character of our city.

“Backing independently-owned local retailers also affects the quality of community life in the city.

“Getting to know your local retail people encourages a more personal and caring contact to be developed.”

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