'Brilliant to see town busy' - Shoppers bring buzz back to west Suffolk
- Credit: Johnny Griffith
Business owners say they are "excited and relieved" to be back serving customers across west Suffolk after months of lockdown closures, and hope "we will move onto bigger and better things".
From today, non-essential retail, including hairdressers and pubs with outside seating are allowed to reopen their doors, with queues seen spanning the streets of Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury as people rushed back to the town centres.
Joe Fairs owns Market Hill Photography in Sudbury, and he said he was "excited, but maybe more relieved" to be back open.
He said a lot of his customers need help with their service as they do not know how to do it online, so it was important that they could welcome back shoppers.
"We offer so many nice presents and photos are very powerful and personal things," he said.
"I have already had four or five customers this morning saying they lost loved ones whilst we were shut and they all wanted copies of photos. So they have obviously been waiting for us to reopen which is quite nice."
You may also want to watch:
Mr Fairs said it feels great to have customers back, adding that everyone has been smiling at him when they enter the shop as "if he has been away on holiday".
"I have seen several other shopkeepers this morning and we have all been wishing each other good luck which is nice," he added.
- 1 Man in 20s dies in collision between lorry and pedestrian on A14
- 2 Suffolk estate which featured on TV show on the market for £1.25m
- 3 Ipswich Town transfer rumours: Blues linked with goalkeeper and coaching move for former loanee
- 4 Car on its side in middle of roundabout after crash outside Haverhill Tesco
- 5 Van's roof torn off as it gets stuck under Suffolk bridge
- 6 'Next season we'll have a right go' - Roberts on Fleetwood win and Chambers' future
- 7 Matchday Recap: Lightning start for Town secures Fleetwood win
- 8 Biker breaks collarbone in swerve to avoid car on wrong side of road
- 9 'Masterpiece' modernist home with panoramic sea views for sale for £850,000
- 10 Joy as council reverses ban on motorhomes in car parks
Tony Byfield, manager of Rays Retro in Sudbury, was also happy to be back in business after the national lockdown.
"As I was walking through town this morning I saw queues outside various shops, mainly hairdressers, and it was brilliant to see the town busy again and I was so excited," said Mr Byfield.
"I was a bit nervous because I forgot how to use my till, but as people started to walk in it cheered me up no end."
Mandy Baldwin, owner of Mandy's Jewellery and Gifts in Sudbury, said: "It is wonderful to be open. It has been a long lockdown.
"The lockdown impacted us badly. We did a few bits online, but it was not brilliant.
"It is really important that people support local at the moment because we have had a lot of shops that have closed and not reopened, and as long as people can support us we can all keep going."
Jennie Gardiner, owner of Sunflowers Florists in Sudbury which has continued to operate throughout the lockdown, said it is lovely to be able to open the door again and welcome customers inside.
"We have missed passing trade," she said.
"Station Road today is a lot busier, with more activity going on with other shops reopening their doors. Let's hope this time we can all remain open."
Meanwhile, David Allen, manager of Gerald Boughton, a menswear and clothing hire store in Bury St Edmunds, said: We are obviously very excited to be back. It has been a long year for everybody in retail, so we just hope the public are as excited as we are.
"With hospitality and everything opening up as well, hopefully the year will kick off now and we will move onto bigger and better things.
"The wedding industry is big for us and that is starting to gradually ease in terms of restrictions and people are looking to book holidays which means they will be looking to buy new outfits."
Residents were also happy to be getting out and about again.
Debbie Scott, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, said it was "absolutely fantastic" to be able to go shopping again in her hometown.
"It has been so disappointing to walk round the town and it being empty the last few months, and I am now glad to see so many people out here," said Mrs Scott.
"It is extremely important for people to be supporting local shops at the moment, and it is important that everyone gets out and has an enjoyable experience looking at the town and the gardens."
Iris Cox, who has lived in the town for 40 years, said: "I'm very pleased shops have opened. The thing is with Bury you go into a shop and they are your friends. They'll do anything to help you.
"Bury is a very nice place. These shops are part of you."
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, the town's Business Improvement District, said: "It is absolutely fantastic to see so many people around the town and it is great to see so many businesses reopening including many new ones.
"The tables and chairs outside the restaurants along Abbeygate Street and The Nutshell really reminds us the town is reopening again."