Buxton’s Hargreaves and Son ‘optimistic’ as shops reopen

Buxton homeware store Hargreaves and Sons say they are ‘optimistic’ about the future – thanks to support from loyal customers during the pandemic.

By Ben McVay
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 7:00 am

Owner Martin Coles-Evans told how during two lockdowns locals helped keep the business afloat with click and collect orders.

And now the Buxton institution - established in 1865 - is reopening ahead of Christmas as the national lockdown ends and Martin hopes the business will pick up trade during the festive rush for gifts.

This weekend marks Small Business Saturday - which takes place on the first Saturday of December each year.

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Buxton homeware store Hargreaves and Sons say they are ‘optimistic’ about the future

During the special day consumers are asked to support local businesses - with many hosting events and offering discounts.

And with independent traders more than ever in need of support Martin told how important they are for smaller towns like Buxton.

He said: “Shops like ours create a community atmosphere - we’re the lifeblood of the town.

“Without independent local shops this would be a very sterile place - and it’s small businesses which can adjust immediately and do whatever we have to do to survive.

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“Bigger stores have shareholders to appease and they don’t give the same level of customer service.”

The trader told how Hargreaves’ cafe had ‘suffered’ during the pandemic but as shops reopened after the first lockdown customers sought the familiarity of a local store.

He said: “All the click and collect customers say they’re shopping local to support us because they realise the effect the virus has had - I’m feeling optimistic.

“I’m just looking forward to seeing all our local customers again and I want to thank all the people who supported us.”

This week Buxton - along with the rest of Derbyshire - goes into Tier 3 lockdown however shops will have permission to trade 24 hours a day in December and January.

It comes after communities Secretary Robert Jenrick scrapped long-winded licensing rules - allowing stores to compensate for lost income.

Though Martin admitted he had to consult with staff and ‘we won’t be open 24 hours’ he said the next few weeks would be busy.

He added: “Our suppliers tell us there’s a shortage of delivery drivers - so I would have thought we would benefit.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.