'Ready to go' - Department store raring to reopen after 109-day wait

Assistant store manager, Heidi Buckie checks the home decor stand at Aldiss, Fakenham, as the store

Assistant store manager, Heidi Buckie checks the home decor stand at Aldiss, Fakenham, as the store prepares to open on Monday 12th April when lockdown rules are relaxed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A Norfolk department store is ready to throw its doors open and welcome customers once more after waiting more than 100 days since the tills rang.

Aldiss in Fakenham is raring to go again as staff prepare to reopen for the first time since Christmas.

Darryl Simpson, managing director said: "We're just ready to go now, if we could open this afternoon we would.

Aldiss at Fakenham ready to open on Monday 12th April when lockdown rules are relaxed. Picture: DENI

Aldiss at Fakenham ready to open on Monday 12th April when lockdown rules are relaxed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

“We've restocked, we're retrained and we just seem to be constantly cleaning at the moment."

Some 109 days will have passed between when the staff left on Christmas Eve to the shop’s reopening, and Mr Simpson said they will be doing all they can to keep everyone safe.

Managing director Darryl Simpson and assistant store manager, Heidi Buckie, at Aldiss, Fakenham, dis

Managing director Darryl Simpson and assistant store manager, Heidi Buckie, at Aldiss, Fakenham, discuss the sale offers as the store prepares to open on Monday 12th April when lockdown rules are relaxed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


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“There are new products to get to know and there are one or two slight changes to what we're doing with regard to keeping everybody safe,” he said.

“The major one is that we introduced testing at our distribution centre in January, with teams doing lateral flow tests. And we're rolling that out to all of the store teams now.

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“That gives us some assurance. We observe all the social distance protocols but having that negative test is extra peace of mind.

“Typically, spring ranges of products are much more colourful and more exciting than they were when we closed in the middle of winter.

“We think we've got all the baubles away.”

The shop is putting the finishing touches on signage and bringing back their staff for some retraining and refreshers.

Some staff have stayed in touch over the last four months by helping with the click and collect service.

Aldiss staff member, Debra Rawlinson

Aldiss staff member, Debra Rawlinson - Credit: Aaron McMillan

One of the staff members who has been in is Debra Rawlinson, who said it was good to see the team back in-store, but is nervous ahead of reopening.

“It's good to see faces again and to get chatting again, but you're kind of watching your distance all the time,” she said.

“I’m apprehensive about reopening, making sure people are keeping the distance and I think it will be quite busy for the first two or three weeks with the number of people that will probably come in through the doors.

“But, I'm looking forward to it.”

Aldiss at Fakenham ready to open on Monday 12th April when lockdown rules are relaxed. Picture: DENI

Aldiss at Fakenham ready to open on Monday 12th April when lockdown rules are relaxed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021


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