Shop Local: St Albans retailers speaks out: ‘It’s more important than ever to support the little shops’
- Credit: Archant
With lockdown measures meaning we’ve had less places to go and people to see, bespoke businesses have battled to get customers through their doors.
Megan Turner, owner of Mini Megan Turner in Catherine Street, St Albans, explained how independent retailers on the periphery of the city centre have felt the full effects of coronavirus.
“We’ve definitely noticed a massive slump on the days where there are events going on in town. It’s been a lot quieter for us. I’m not really sure if there’s anything we can do about it.”
Megan, who hand-makes funky and fashion-forward kids clothing in her Catherine Street shop, endeavours to only purchase her supplies from other independent shops like her own, and knows first-hand the importance of supporting local.
“I know a lot of the shops down this street, I know all of their families. You are supporting a family, not just a big chain, and it is putting food on people’s tables,” she says. “It’s more important than ever to support the little shops.”
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Megan specialises in occasion wear for children from when they’re newborns to age 12, with people buying her bespoke clothing items as presents or for special events. Although her work is unique and beautifully crafted, she doesn’t want customers to assume that her craftsmanship makes her clothing out of budget for Christmas.
She added: “A lot of people assume that shopping at an independent shop is going to be more expensive than on the high street, but actually, that’s not always the case.
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“I hear a lot of people saying ‘I’d love to go in there but it’s probably really expensive’, and they come in and realise that it’s really reasonable. I think that’s the same for a lot of the businesses down Catherine Street.”
But it’s not just physical footfall that these businesses are striving to improve. Speaking of her website and 25,000 follower-strong social media accounts, Megan added: “I wouldn’t have survived without it. It’s really been that hard.”
With a huge buzz surrounding her Christmas collection launch at the end of October, Megan hopes trade will pick up in the run up to Christmas: “I think people are trying to keep Christmas as normal as possible.
“Every single order and every single item is appreciated.”