Covid one year on: How businesses have adapted
- Credit: Nikki Anthony
Businesses have been reflecting on a year of change caused by the pandemic and national lockdown restrictions.
Many have modified how they work - some have offered click and collect, or delivery, and some have joined the Click It Local service. They have also found ways to reach new customers.
Nikki Anthony, owner of ladies fashion boutique Wardrobe in Great Dunmow, said that videos she has made and shared on Facebook about her items for sale have worked surprisingly well.
"I was not that keen to start with but I'm more used to it now.
"I pretend that I'm talking to one of my clients and just chat away."
Nikki has been showing off new pieces, and recently the video showed new shoes and the new shoe stand in the store. She has also been interacting with clients on Instagram.
"I've had good sales through social media," she said.
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Nikki said she shut the shop on March 20, ahead of the lockdown, as trading was very quiet.
Since then, Nikki has kept changing her window displays regularly, her emails go out to customers, and she offers click and collect, or posts items out. If they're very local, she's even dropped orders to doorsteps.
She said she's had great support from customers, and she has even picked up new customers.
But she's looking forward to restrictions easing, and said that when people meet for a coffee, they often then go on to the shops to get something new.
"We've lots of pinks, oranges, red, very bright colours, a bit of classic monochrome. The shop will look nice and colourful.
"People do love a bit of colour."
Rachael Clark of Great Dunmow Town Team said they have new brightly coloured signs to welcome shoppers back when restrictions ease.
During lockdown, the town team also ran a Shop Local campaign.
"It has been a very challenging time with lots of ups and downs. Hopefully it will not be long now until we can all reopen - so that people can enjoy the Dunmow high street again.
"However, I must give a big shout out to the essential shops that are still open that have done a brilliant job to keep the town ticking over."
Rachael said her own business Minnies Bakery which creates cakes, cupcakes, cookies and traybakes to order, has done well during lockdown, having been boosted through the Click It Local order and delivery service.
"For me it has been a huge success. It has transformed my business.
"It has given me the opportunity to reach customers that didn't know about me."
Rachael said deliveries now go to Cambridge and Huntingdon as well as Uttlesford and Dunmow.
Rachael said that some orders were for gifts, and she had heard similar experiences from traders of where people could not visit in person, they were sending a friend or relative a bottle of wine or a cake through Click It Local.
"It's like a local Amazon," she said.
She said of other businesses on Click It Local: "It's a positive thing for the town in the sense of it's a way of shopping on the high street while we are in lockdown."