It’s social distancing, deep cleaning and screens but shops, cafes and hairdressers are back in business
- Credit: Archant
Welcome back! a town comes to life as hairdressers and cafes are re-opening in Dunmow
They went online during the lockdown, they sold take-away afternoon teas. One cafe opened an over-the-counter only ice-cream parlour. Now a hairdresser has spent £6,000 on PPE for the grand re-opening on Saturday. The Broadcast spoke to Dunmow businesses about how they had weathered the storm, steered their ships through a crisis and were now welcoming back customers.
At RUDHAIR in Market Place, owner Steve Ruddock had just taken over from previous proprietors, Smith and Co, just before the shut down.
He said: “We anticipated both the lockdown and the re-opening. We have honoured all our appointments, we phoned our customers and booked them back in, for over the next three weeks. We will open on Saturday (July 4) but with half our chairs, nine instead of 18.”
As customers go in, they will be given a pack with a disposable gown, towel and mask. There will be screens between basins and around reception. Stylists will be wearing masks and visors.
Steve said: “We are going strong (on hygiene). We’ve spent £6,000 on PPE. Staff at both our salons (there is another branch in Sawbridgeworth) will be in bubbles. It took me five hours to work out the shift bubbles but they will never meet and there will be a 30-minute clean down between the two. We have dental surgery grade UV sterilising cabinets and barbicide spray for combs and scissors. We are also asking customers not to wear gloves. Medical advice says it is more hygienic to wash your hands and we have hand sanitiser available.”
MEADOW HILL COFFEE SHOP at number 9 High Street, won Essex Life’s Best Coffee Shop in 2018 and 2018 (awarded by a sister publication of the Broadcast on customer votes).
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Owner Carole Sansom is re-opening on the cafe on Tuesday, July 7 but has been selling afternoon tea picnic hampers during the lockdown with homemade quiches, sausage rolls, Scotch eggs and cakes.
Carole a former catering manager for Felsted School, who has had the cafe for three years, said: “We have a courtyard with three tables and we have thinned out our tables inside with screens between them. No customers on different tables will face each other.”
The cafe has 14 part-time staff including Saturday help. Asked if the business had weathered the storm, Carole said: “The storm may be yet to come. It depends on whether customers have the confidence to come back in numbers and how people fare when they stop being furloughed.”
THE CURIOSITY SHOP in Market Place, which sells cards and gifts, re-opened two weeks ago. Owner Yogeeta Shuttlewood said: “During the lockdown, we were offering free delivery via Facebook, which was very successful. Our customers were very patient and tolerant which we are really grateful for and we even have some new customers, which is great. It’s business as usual.” The five staff, including Yogeeta are all back. Yogeeta said: “We’ve not let anyone go.”
WARDROBE, which has been selling classic clothes for women in the High Street for 15 years, re-opened on June 17. Customers have individual appointments, which owner Nikki Anthony says gives people confidence.
“It means they have the shop to themselves. We have the door open, but people with appointments take precedence and our customers are keen to do it like that. We have lost out this season on race days and weddings. We sell everything from jeans and a blouse to the modern mother-of-the-bride. We have bespoke hats and dyed shoes. When lockdown started we had made a good start on that.”
COYLES CAR CARE in the High Street sold out of bikes during the lockdown. Proprietor Tony Coyle said: “We only closed for April. We sold out of bikes, everyone has. None have been coming into the country. We only have a few left but we have been repairing them too and things will tick over now.”
THE SHOPKEEPER STORE in Dunmow’s Market Place, sells men’s and women’s clothes, shoes, homeware, stationery and books. Owner Ian Johnstone said: “It’s been really positive. We have kept things going by keeping our shop window dressed even though the shop wasn’t open. Our regular people have come back, they are excited that the shops are open again and we have some new customers who either discovered us online or found us walking into town. People have enjoyed window shopping.
The shop has been there four years but the business has been online for six years. Customers come from as far away as Cambridge, Bishop’s Stortford and London.
CHLOE’S has been busy since the ladies boutique re-opened in its new location at 35 High Street on June 24. Proprietor Jo Jones said: “We’ve had a really good response. People have been in lockdown and they are glad to come out. Also some people are still at home so they have the time and they are pleased to see that we are still here.”
THE CHAMELEON CAFE, which offers pottery painting as well as food, used lockdown to refurbish. Just before they closed, they sold take away afternoon teas for Mother’s Day. They reopened on June 15 as a take-away ice-cream parlour. On Saturday, July 4, the cafe will be back.
The business is run jointly by Deanne Houghton and Alan Stratton. Alan said: “The key thing is, as a member of the town team, what’s been amazing is the way the town has worked together. There were about 10 of us in the town team, now there are 30 members. As we were about to reopen, all the businesses were helping each other, passing on links and sharing advice.”