Shop Local: Let’s use our independent retailers in three days before lockdown and #SaveThember

Marina Desclavis, who runs Empire Records and Chaos City Comics in Heritage Close.

Marina Desclavis, who runs Empire Records and Chaos City Comics in Heritage Close. - Credit: Archant

With a second lockdown looming, there are still three days to back our independent retailers and #SaveThem-ber.

Donna Nichol of Chloe James Lifestyle.

Donna Nichol of Chloe James Lifestyle. - Credit: Archant

In the wake of the Herts Ad’s ongoing #ShopLocal campaign, we’re urging local residents to start their Christmas shopping now, and put some much needed cash into the coffers of our traders over the coming days.

Deryane Tadd of The Dressing Room said: “I am devastated that this is happening again. I did not see it coming.

“We are open until 8pm tomorrow (Tuesday) and usual hours on Wednesday. We have loads of new bits in for Christmas, including stocking fillers such as socks, candles, jewellery and hand cream as well as new season fashion items.

“Now would be a brilliant time to come in and get your new cosy winter coat. From reversible coats, parka jackets and Italian wool pieces - we have a whole range of high end brand stockists including Parka London and Dualist.”

Donna Nichol, from Chloe James Lifestyle, reacted to the imminent shutdown: “The news of a second lockdown has really knocked me for six. We were already working flat out on improving our website and have now decided to relaunch it immediately.

“We have tried hard to get the feel of the shop into our online offering and have added a lot more products too, including gifts and cards. If there are teething problems, I’m really hoping our customers will be understanding - these are testing times and we are fighting for survival (

“We opened longer hours yesterday and had a very busy day. The support was extremely encouraging. There was already a definite shift towards shopping small and local and I think being forced to spend more time at home has meant people have realised how important their local shops are to the community.

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“We’re not just somewhere to spend money, we’re somewhere to go for a chat and advice. We’re a service - we help people look and feel good, boosting their confidence and giving them a lift. We help them choose great presents that they find joy in giving. We live and work locally, spend our money locally and create jobs. We’ll be reacting to demand over the next few days in terms of opening hours.”

She added: “Once the doors are closed we’ll be keeping in touch with our customers like we did last time, with lots of videos and photos on social media. We’ve already done a ‘Twenty Gifts under £20‘ IGTV which has had a great reaction.

“We’re concentrating on how to make life easier for our customers, so free local delivery, click and collect, a gift-wrapping service, gift guides, working from home style advice are all on the cards. Your readers can sign up to our newsletter via our website, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see what we’re up to!”

Marina Desclavis, owner of Empire Records and Chaos City Comics, said: “Not being able to open the shops is a big loss of business for us, but we hope that online and click and collect will be enough for us over the next four weeks in order to survive. Fingers crossed.”

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Tere Harrington, retail director for Raindrops on Roses, added: “Even though a second lockdown had been on the cards for some time, we were really hoping that non-essential shops would not have to close. Following government instructions, Raindrops on Roses will be open 10am-5pm Monday to Wednesday this week, but must then close its doors until guidelines change.

“We are encouraging customers to shop local as much as possible over the next few weeks to support local businesses, and our website will allow shoppers to do this. It’s up and running at We offer standard UK delivery and will be available 8.30am-10am Monday to Friday for Click & Collect orders if customers feel happy to pop into the shop to collect their purchases. Our stringent Covid safety measures will be in place as we handle the online orders.”

Will you be getting your Christmas shopping done over the next few weeks? Let us know your experiences of supporting local independent retailers by emailing - together we can #SaveThember