blog Slowly back to a sense of normality

Tom Carter, Potters of Hockley, looks at how things will be changing once more and how retailers currently feel in the midst of it.


o, as I write, this summer seems to have appeared again and everyone is moaning about the heat when last week it was the cold and wet. We do like to get excited about the weather in this country! Nerves are kicking in for me about Monday morning as this is when we are supposed to be going back to normality or ‘Freedom Day’ as they call it. The last 17 months we have been able

control all aspects of staff safety in the shop with restrictions in place and the law to protect us enforcing these but now we feel completely alone. Why we couldn’t at least keep masks in shops with the large increase in COVID cases every day? The talk of these potentially reaching 100,000 a day is very unnerving. My aim from the very start last March was to protect my colleagues at any point, with the measures in place we could do this. I know we must live with the virus at some stage but is this

really the time to do it? We could end up with staff constantly off even though they are double jabbed; feeling ok just because they could have passed someone in the street. Some of our customers get too

close at the best of times, with no social distancing or face masks this will become a bit uncomfortable. Thankfully, apart from the 3 Saturday lads, all of the team are vaccinated now, and I guess that’s all we can do. We are going to keep the screens up, the social distancing signage, and wear masks ourselves, let’s hope the general public support us in this too. August we finally get to go back to a

trade show, Exclusively, and I honestly cannot say how excited we are about this. All our reps have been asking if we will be attending and to see so many suppliers there will be fantastic. Most of them have supported us

throughout the pandemic and we couldn’t have got through it without them and we will be there to support them. It will be interesting to see how much newness there is out there and what this means for the important run up to Christmas. For us it hasn’t slowed down yet. We

keep expecting it to go pop and back to 2019 takings but no signs of this happening anytime soon. Stocks are at the best they have been for the last 18 months which is very positive. We are using far more suppliers than a year ago, it’s funny how some are coming out fighting at the moment where others are just assuming, they don’t have to up their game. Off to do planning on our Christmas windows now with Ali, lots of pressure this year to make them the best yet though if they are anything like the Le Creuset window she has just done, we are in safe hands!

38 | • • July/August 2021

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