Traders implore shoppers not to panic

DON'T panic! That is the message from shopkeepers in Woodbridge who are urging shoppers to ''keep calm'' and carry on as normal during the recession.

Richard Smith

DON'T panic!

That is the message from shopkeepers in Woodbridge who are urging shoppers to ''keep calm'' and carry on as normal during the recession.

In scenes reminiscent of the Second World and then the hugely popular television series Dad's Army eye-catching red posters are being displayed in the town's shops.

They say, ''Keep calm and carry on.''

The initiative has been led by Barrett's furniture shop where the owner, Raymond Morley, admitted yesterday he was fed-up with negative publicity flooding through the country.

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Mr Morley is asking the public to keep positive and confident, and he said: ''I got the idea from a friend of mine. There were posters during the war asking people to stay calm and try and be normal, and I think we need something like that.

''We have had a lot of people smiling at the poster and coming in to see us.

''They think it is a great idea and I want to fight back against all the doom and gloom. Our shop is doing fairly well but my biggest concern is that we have a staff of 15, who have mortgages and children, and they do not deserve to be crushed underfoot by greedy bankers.''

Mr Morley is delighted that other shops want to display the posters and he was praised for his campaign by Marion Wells, the town centre coordinator.

Dr Wells said: ''This is a brilliant idea. We want people to keep smiling in Woodbridge where we have such a wonderful group of shopkeepers and offer a personal service.''

Many shopkeepers gathered at Barretts yesterday to talk about trading patterns in the town and Jan Smith, of Adams Apple clothes shop, said: ''We have a very reliable customer base in Woodbridge who carry on shopping regardless.

''People need to keep optimistic and not to pay too much attention to what the media say.''

Carol Cole, of Carma Boutique, said she wanted shoppers to realise that they must ''use us or lose us.''

She added: ''I just feel that if shops look after their customers, offer them something different than other towns, then they will look after you. We provide good quality and an individual service.''

Another campaign promoted in Woodbridge is called Real Shopping Choose Woodbridge in which the in-depth knowledge and passion of the independent retailers is highlighted.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk