Traders reflect on first day back after lockdown

People out in Fakenham as lockdown eases. Picture: Aaron McMillan

People out in Fakenham as lockdown eases. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Non-essential shops have started to reopen in Fakenham, with local shoppers heading back to the high street.

Owner of Special Moments, Nigel Maidstone. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Owner of Special Moments, Nigel Maidstone. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Today is the first time shops that were not deemed essential during full lockdown were allowed to get back to trading.

Miller’s Walk, the town’s shopping centre, had Argos and M&Co reopen for the first time since March, with independent shops like Special Moments opening their doors again.

Owner of Special Moments, Nigel Maidstone, has owned the card and gift shop for 28 years and was delighted to get customers back in his store.

“It is so nice to be open again, seeing people and laughing again,” he said.

Social distancing guidelines were in place across Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Social distancing guidelines were in place across Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant


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“I’ve been fairly busy today, but I will not know how well I have done until the end of the day.”

More people were out in the town centre, but some traders did not see a huge amount of trade.

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Andre Baker, who owns Splitz, a woman’s clothes shop on Norwich Street said that only three people came into the shop in the first three hours, and one of them was the window cleaner.

Mrs Baker said that the slow trade was “exactly” what she expected, with attention now turning to stock management.

Andre Baker, who owns Splitz. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Andre Baker, who owns Splitz. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

She said that reopening her shop is “scary” and there is a real fear of the unknown, she said:

“The unknown fear of whether people will have the confidence to come to the shop, or even out of their house.”

Geoff Saunders, owner of Paperklip on Bridge Street said he had seen about 12 people in the first few hours of opening.

He has decided to start opening the shops for fewer days and hours, now only working five days a week.

Spiltz in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Spiltz in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

He believes a more social atmosphere, like cafes reopening, will encourage more people back into the town.

He believes that people are still scared of the coronavirus, he said:

“People are still frightened of that second spike.

“It is going to be slow and we have to expect that, it’s not going to be like it was before.”

Millers Walk in Fakenham has a new one way system. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Millers Walk in Fakenham has a new one way system. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Owner of Newsklip, Scott Saunders also opened his doors for the first time since March.

The newsagent has been delivering papers through the lockdown but said it was great to see customers again.

But he also expects things to be “slow and steady” for some time to come.

Geoff Saunders, owner of Paperklip . Picture: Aaron McMillan

Geoff Saunders, owner of Paperklip . Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Paperklip in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Paperklip in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Owner of Newsklip, Scott Saunders. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Owner of Newsklip, Scott Saunders. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

Newsagent Newsklip in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan

Newsagent Newsklip in Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

The que for the Post office in Millers Walk at Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan

The que for the Post office in Millers Walk at Fakenham. Picture: Aaron McMillan - Credit: Archant

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