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Businesses look to bounce back Posted On 19 February 2021

Hull businesses remain hopeful of success, despite opening their shops during Coronavirus lockdowns

 

Both The Simply Running sportswear store in Hull’s central Albion Street, and Wrecking Ball Music and Books shop in Whitefriargate opened in 2020, and have struggled with not being able to stay open consistently. Simply Running owner Karl Holmes spoke of his struggles, when saying, ‘I’ve only been able to open for a few weeks in between each lockdown’.

He also admitted that due to the nature of his shop, he can’t capitalise from online sales as effectively as other sub-sectors of retail. He said, ‘With shops like mine, people like to come into the store and try products on to get a feel for them’. He went on to add, ‘Normally I’d have people coming in and making enquiries, trying things on or having a go with shoes on an indoor running machine. Some people would rather do that than buy online’. He went on to admit that he might have given his plans to open a second thought, if he had known what the next months would have in store.

Holmes may have a right to feel frustrated by the lack of business, as all running stores were forced to close during the first lockdown, whilst cycling shops were deemed ‘essential’. This led to a campaign by owners, to allow running stores to stay open during the second lockdown. But this was to no avail, as running shops have still not been permitted to open under current restrictions.

Wrecking Ball Music and Books Press Editor Shane Rhodes, told Hull Daily Mail how their company decided to open their store during the November lockdown. And although recent months have seen big name chains, such as Debenhams and the Arcadia group, being liquidated, he saw this as a great opportunity for independent shops, such as his. He commented, ‘The independent sector can offer something different and respond to local needs. We see this as an opportunity to innovate’. He also remains optimistic due to the success which his shop had when it was open, just before Christmas, adding, ‘Our experience before Christmas…only confirmed we can offer something the public wants’.

Both businesses will hope to get back to their busiest once current restrictions are lifted.

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