As I write this we are just about to see the further easing of lockdown across the country with our friends in the hospitality and entertainment sectors being the last to be able to fully open their doors to welcome us back.
It’s been a joy to see people returning to their old routines of hitting the high street and shopping locally…it’s even more of a joy to see and hear stories from family and friends saying how they’ve now made some changes to their old shopping habits to shop more locally…whether that’s on our shopping parades or online with the wealth of amazing businesses we have who operate in a more ‘virtual’ way.
So why the ‘Save Our High Street’ headline you might ask? Well, I’ve been reading with interest what’s been going on across high streets nationwide and it’s not been pretty. In one article I saw an extremely sad quote from Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium who said,
“We estimate there are around 5,000 fewer shops since the start of the pandemic, meaning one in seven shops now lie empty.” That’s pretty shocking and you can be sure that of those 5,000 shop closures a lot will have been from local business owners simply unable to cope with the pressure of lockdown, both financially and emotionally.
You can see that all too evident if you take a walk down Reigate’s main shopping parades with empty shopfronts and ‘TO LET’ signs hanging above them. Thankfully though it’s so encouraging to see more and more ‘TERMS AGREED’ or ‘COMING SOON’ signs appearing in the shop windows of those empty shells.
Hopefully they will soon become thriving local businesses to help our high streets stay vibrant, buoyant and one of the reasons that makes Reigate such as great place to live.
We can all do our bit to help save our high street…
and that’s by shopping local and supporting our local business owners who are also our friends and neighbours in our community.