Sunderland trader hopes people 'vote with their feet' and shop local

A Sunderland storeowner hopes shoppers ‘vote with their feet’ and back local retailers as they prepare to reopen their doors.

Thursday, 11th June 2020, 7:00 am

Mandy Brown, owner of Harrison and Brown furniture store, is looking forward to welcoming customers back to the Holmeside premises, having traded online for the last few months during the coronavirus lockdown.

The store will be operating an ‘appointment only’ system which gives customers an hour-long slot to browse.

She said: “It’s great to be able to welcome customers in the shops again – and it’s really important that people vote with their feet and support local businesses.

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Harrison and Brown Furniture owner Mandy Brown.

“We’re operating an appointment only system at the moment, which means customers get an hour slot to browse so it should help restore the confidence of anyone who is worried about coming into the city centre.

“We’ve taken every precaution – risk assessments, clear marking, hand sanitisation stations – so that everyone can feel safe, but now it’s really important that shoppers come and spend their money with local businesses.

“We rely on the people of Sunderland to support us, that’s the only way local businesses can survive, so we really want people wherever possibly to put local traders first.

“We know it’s going to be a new shopping experience which might take people a little while to get used to but everyone is working together to encourage everyone back into the city centre.

Harrison and Brown Furniture owner Mandy Brown inside the Holmeside store.

“Our customers have been really supportive and understanding because some of the orders have taken longer to come through because of the situation we’ve been in but we’re now working through our deliveries.

“We really don’t want people to go and shop online and buy items that they can get locally so we – like all the other retailers – are hoping shoppers will realise the importance of giving us their support.

“Our plan is after a few weeks to open the store more widely but we will also continue with the appointment system on Sundays for people who still need some reassurance or extra encouragement to come into the city centre.”

Harrison and Brown Furniture owner Mandy Brown puts up safety measures for staff and customers.
Harrison and Brown Furniture reopens with safety measures for staff and customers.