We are so happy to be back in the shops after months of not knowing when or indeed how we were going to open the doors again. It has been fantastic to welcome back our lovely, loyal local customers as well as greet new faces that are here for holidays or just passing through. It’s great to have everyone’s support and it really means the world to all of us. Most exciting is actually having the staff back too – we’ve all missed each other so much and it’s been so lovely to catch up!
If you’ve been following us online, you’ll know that even though the doors to the shops were closed – there was still a lot going on inside. Orders could still be placed online or by phone and posted out or collected without contact. The first few weeks of lockdown were actually busier than Christmas with all the orders coming in! This has definitely eased off now, but it was pretty hectic at the time and with none of our suppliers open it was quite challenging to know how and when to restock. Thankfully, many of our wonderful suppliers and back to working at full capacity now and we’re all adjusting to the new processes even though most of them continue to work from home.
The shops being shut was also a great opportunity to give them a bit of a spruce up (Don’t like to make things easy on ourselves!) Number 5 – which is the large gift shop closest to the shore – has had a full makeover – it’s had a fresh coat of paint and a good reshuffle, which has also included some beautiful new displays. If you haven’t popped in for a peek yet please do, it’s looking fabulous even if we do say so ourselves! Number 11 and the Toy and Card Shops have also had a bit of a rejig – with a fair bit of moving around and lots of lovely new ranges too. It was exhausting but to say that we’re quite chuffed with everything we’ve managed would definitely be an understatement.
In amongst all of this we reopened the Sandwich Bar! June 8th we were back in business and after a few weeks of operating at reduced hours, the girls are now back to full working hours, and the treats have never been more tempting! They can only have one customer in the shop at a time, however orders can be placed over the phone to reduce waiting times, there’s menus up in the windows so you can seven phone your order in from the queue if it’s easier, and we think that staff and customers alike are getting used to the new way of doing things.
We reopened the remaining shops on the 29th of June after a last-minute panic to get them put back together! Like the Sandwich Bar we began with reduced hours – opening at 11am until 5pm, but after a few weeks, and as more of our lovely staff returned to work, we are now open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday.
We introduced one-way systems in each of the shops, which helps keep us right with our numbers, as only 4 customers can be in the shop at any one time. As customers enter the shop we ask that they use the hand sanitiser provided – which is a lovely Siabann Aloe Vera spray – this means that everyone is welcome to browse to their heart’s content. Currently all customers must wear a face covering inside the shops. Our staff are wearing them too and we do also have a clear screen above each counter so that you can pay at the tills as you always have.
We have new stock arriving every day and it's been really fun getting the new bits and pieces out into the shops, creating new window displays and getting it put up online too. Two new product categories which we have lots of are, of course, face coverings and hand sanitiser products. We keep saying it one another and to the customers - who would have thought this time last year that we'd all be comparing face masks?! Not us, but there you go!
We’re going to do our very best to keep our loyal customers updated with what’s new using our Facebook and Instagram as well as our mailing list and here on the blog, and remember if there’s ever anything you see either in the shop or on our social media that you can’t find online please give us a call on 01546 602445 or drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org with the description and we’ll be able to find it for you. Not all our stock is available online and some just hasn’t made it there yet! However we’re still more than happy to take card payments over the phone and have your order either ready for collection or post it out to you, or the lucky recipient of it’s a gift. For more details on this please see our delivery information. As always, we’re here, we’re ready and we’re happy to help.