Leeds independent shop owners react to easing of lockdown as excitement builds ahead of April 12
Independent shop owners in Leeds have expressed their excitement at their reopening plans ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions next week.
Boris Johnson confirmed the plan is still on course to allow non-essential retailers to open on April 12.
The announcement was music to the ears of sweet shop entrepreneur Tasha Archer, 25, who owns three Archers Sweets shops across the city which have been closed for more than four months.
Speaking to the YEP after the latest announcement, Tasha said she was "absolutely over the moon" to be able to open.
She said she could not wait to see her former customers return.
> Covid vaccine passports: Questions answered as government issues updateTasha said: "We have been shut for four months now.
"We were absolutely over the moon to hear the news as we just can't wait to get back to normality!
"Preparation is already underway to get the shops ready to re-open to the public.
"We can't wait to see everyone and all our new customers we gained through lockdown and just to be able to let the kids in the shop and let them browse to see what they want."
> John Lewis, Primark and Poundland among retailers to announce April 12 reopening plans for outlets in LeedsTasha said she had made all the preparations to safely reopen the shops after the restrictions have eased - with a planned reopening on April 13.
She added: "We have baskets of face masks upon entry with hand sanitiser.
"There are also posters outside the shop stating how many people are allowed in at a time, as our shops are only small."
Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, 41, is the co-owner at Dowsing & Reynolds - a home decor shop located in Leeds city centre's County Arcade.
The store opened up in the County Arcade in 2019 so that customers could browse products in person after their online business boomed.
Unfortunately, the showroom was forced to close due to the lockdown restrictions imposed.
Ally said she couldn't wait to throw open the doors for her customers again.
> Stark warnings for Leeds United in Sheffield United's demise but Marcelo Bielsa can enjoy Premier League safety - Daniel ChapmanSpeaking to the YEP, she said: "We’re over the moon that everything is on track to reopen as planned on the 12th, as I’m sure other retailers will be.
"Our showroom in Victoria Quarter has been closed since January, as well as during the previous lockdowns.
"We started off as an online business nine years ago so thankfully we’ve managed to successfully continue running that side of things, but we’re looking forward to welcoming customers back in face to face in the showroom.
"We expect that as more restrictions are lifted footfall may drop, simply due to people wanting to be out seeing family and friends rather than shopping for their homes, understandably!"
Ally said the business had prepared measures to enable customers back in person.
She added: "Our main aim is to make customers feel safe, comfortable and relaxed when they visit us and we've undergone training with our showroom team to help with this.
"We opened up in the County Arcade in 2019 so that our customers could come in and see our products and get a feel for them up close.
"They’ll now be able to call up and book an ‘appointment’ if they would like some one on one time with our interior design-trained staff.
"Of course walk-ins are also welcome."