Ashby Tills Are Ringing Again After Lockdown - But Town Traders Chair Warns Of Challenging Times

By Graham Hill

4th Dec 2020 | Local News

Ashby shoppers are showing their support for the town's Shop Local campaign after coming out of a month's lockdown.

Market Street businesses have been reporting a busy couple of days after being allowed to open again on Wednesday.

Some saw queues forming outside, with some shoppers preferring to stay in Ashby rather than travel to surrounding cities for their Christmas shopping.

The town is expecting another large turnout again on Saturday, especially as motorists will be able to use North West Leicestershire District Council's car parks free of charge.

Mandy McIntosh, chair of the Ashby Town Traders - and owner of the Fair 2 All store on Bath Street - says that retailers need to make up for the loss of November's income which can more than 12 per cent of the year's takings.

"We very much appreciate what the district council are doing with the signs around the town encouraging people to Shop Local, Stay Safe, Support Ashby campaign, and people are responding to that," Mandy told Ashby Nub News.

"I'be found business has been good and steady, even on Thursday when it wasn't so good weather-wise.

"We also have the Virtual Christmas Market online on Saturday and Sunday, but the town centre traders pulled that together as it was the only alternative for traders who would normally come to the Food Gusto event.

"As a town centre trader, it's great for me to do the virtual market as I can do my shop as well.

"Ashby's pulling together as ever and people are doing things.

"I had a member of the Ashby Methodist Church in and there is a nativity scene in the empty shop where Clinton Cards was. That's a lovely idea, we are going to end up with a few empty premises sadly.

"But Ashby people seem to be so resourceful, in terms of coming up with those sort of ideas.

"St Helen's Church has also put some crocheted stars around the town."

But despite the crowds coming out this week, Mandy says these are difficult times for shops.

"I will not deny that it's very challenging as a trader, knowing that, in the lockdown period, would've done 12 and a half per cent of my annual takings, and that is a lot," she added.

"November is the best, and that's four weeks we were closed. That's a massive amount to lose.

"But it was wonderful to get these reminders of the work we do in the town.

The little tag was left on my door handle by St Helen's.

"People are so kind and encouraging when they come in.

"Yes, it's great that tills are ringing again and ringing quite loudly, but it's more the heart of the people that is so encouraging when it comes to having a retail shop in Ashby.

"My heart goes out to the hospitality sector, and we must do as we possibly can for them when we are able. They can do takeaway but that's extremely hard for them.

"Look at Ask Italian, they re-opened and then had to shut again in a very short space of time.

"But there's another initiative with an Ashby Market Street online if that's people's way of buying things.

"It is lovely to see people in the shops again though. Ashby is such a great place in that respect.

"I think a lot of people have become used to walking as part of their daily exercise and I've noticed that they have been walking past my shop more than before."


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