'Get behind your shops' call ahead of make or break return

Shoppers are being urged to throw their support behind their favourite stores or face losing them forever - as Shropshire's traders prepare to fight back for a make or break year.

Pride Hill shoppers in normal times
Pride Hill shoppers in normal times

Non-essential shops are expected to reopen on April 12 in line with the government's road map, and staff will be stocking their shelves and preparing their displays, in the hope that hordes of excited Salopians will flock to spend their money after months of lockdown cabin fever.

Now business leaders have issued a rallying call for the people of Shropshire to get behind their shops to help secure their futures.

Social distancing measures are being put in place as the county's town centres roll out the red carpet in anticipation for a busy return. And traders know how vital it will be to hit the ground running.

Seb Slater, of Shrewsbury Bid, is hopeful that shoppers will be keen to get out and spend time in the town, similar to last summer.

"We've got to get the Shrewsbury community behind our shops," he said.

"Everyone is desperate to go out and meet each other, and the town centre could be a real place for people to come together.

"It's been a difficult year. The government support has been well received, but everyone is keen to get back open.

Key dates - the Government's roadmap out of lockdown

"I think people are quite optimistic about Shrewsbury. There have been a few new businesses that have opened up. We've lost a few as well but not many. Fortunately, Shrewsbury doesn't rely on a lot of national brands which have struggled. The independent shops have been a bit more resilient.

"Shrewsbury is well supported. We had a fantastic summer last year but we need people to support the town again.

"We're planning more outdoor dining and places for people to meet. Hopefully the government's road map will go to plan."

Councillor Lee Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet member for neighbourhood, commercial services and regeneration, said: "Shopping local has never been so key for our local businesses as we continue to work together as a community to get back on our feet following the current lockdown.”

Glynn Morrow, manager of Telford Centre, insists there is plenty to be optimistic about ahead of the return.

“We know our customers just want to get back in store and discover the latest styles first-hand," he said.

"While many of our competitors have stood still, our £50m investment programme has meant we have continued to open new stores with bigger ranges, and we are confident we will have more to announce over the coming months."

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