Chapel Allerton gift shop owner in plea to Leeds residents to shop local online

The owner of an independent gift shop is urging people to stop and think before buying from online shopping giants.

Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 5:48 pm
Jo McBeath at Chirpy in Chapel Allerton

Jo McBeath, who runs Chirpy - a design-led gift shop and workshop space in Chapel Allerton - said people can still support local businesses when shopping online.

Chirpy sells unique home accessories and a wide range of other products - inclding greetings cards, ceramics, prints and jewllery - not available in high street chain stores.

Jo, who uses the hashtag #shoplocalonline on her social media accounts, has run Chirpy on Harrogate Road since November 2016.

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But she didn't start selling online at until after the shop was forced to close on March 21 due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Now Jo says online trade is a key part of her business and she is urging people to consider if the product they want is available locally when shopping online.

Jo, who reopened the shop on June 15, said: "You can't stop people shopping online. But if you can't beat them join them, so what I want to do is get them to shop local online.

"The online part of the business is going to be really important, especially when we are having to limit the number of people we have in the shop due to social distancing.

"In the run up to Christmas we might get 25 people in my little shop, all buying gifts.

"If I can only have three in at one time I can't make the money I usually make at Christmas, which sets you up for the year."

Jo said she started selling online around six weeks into lockdown.

She said: "I had a website, but I didn't sell online. It was something I was looking to do, but it wasn't a priority.

"It is going really well. People can order online and pop in the shop and collect and we can deliver if necessary."

Jo said a gift wrap and deliver service is proving popular - especially for peope sending presents and cards to parents of newborn babies.

Jo said: "It is just about getting people to stop and think. If they would come and visit the Chirpy shop to buy presents, but can't make it tio the shop for whatever reason they can order from us online."

She added: "People in Chapel Allerton were really supportive of all the food shops during lockdown so the footfall has still been here and we haven't had to start from scratch.

"I have been pleasently surprised at the number of customers who have come into the shop in the last month."

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Laura Collins