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Muddy opinion: let’s support our shops

Anyone else itching to get into a real shop now they're open? Here's why we think hitting our local high streets is a good thing.

As lockdown eases, retailers classed as non-essential are now allowed to re-open this week, and we could not be happier at this news. While some people will be very cautious about hitting their local high street just yet – obviously, there is still a virus out there and that threat shouldn’t be taken lightly – the feeling at Muddy HQ is that if you feel safe, confident and able to do so, we should show our favourite local shops our support.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that Muddy has always been about championing the plucky, diverse, brilliant independent retailers that proudly pepper the high streets of Hants and the Isle of Wight – and they need us more than ever right now. Never has the phrase ‘use it or lose it’ been more pertinent.

The local business owners I’ve been talking to say they’ve been working hard to make their spaces safe for customers and staff. WJ French and Son in Southampton are using safety equipment and social distancing to allow them to fit shoes and measure feet safely, and Orchid in Stockbridge have re-opened their stunning furniture shop with a new clever appointment system to avoid staff overwhelm. The Velvet Pig in Portsmouth will be selling their gorgeous vintage treasures with screens in place, and The Tenth Hole in Southsea have opened their golf courses with safety restrictions in place (plus you can pick up takeaways cakes, drinks and meals from their cafe).

So where will we be headed first? Stanwells Boutique is definitely on our list, particularly as they’re selling snazzy printed face masks alongside their usual fashion offerings (visit them in Lymington and Westbourne), and we’ll be booking a personal shopping appointment with the fabulous lot at La De Da Interiors in Andover. Can’t make it to the boutique? They’re still offering free local delivery on their gifts and decor.

Have you been visiting your local indies? Where will you go first? I’d love to hear your shout-outs for your high street heroes – tell us in the comments box below. Don’t forget your face mask and hand sanitiser, along with your credit card!

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