We're open again!
So the big news for July is that the we have opened the shop doors and been back serving behind the counter from the middle of June, which was when the government allowed non-essential shops to re-open.
There were a number of changes made to the shop and our processes to be able to re-open. The main changes that customers will have noticed are the one-way system, the customer limit (6 customers at any one time) and the fact we are not taking cash at the moment (card payments only). There are good reasons we decided to stop taking cash and it's worth explaining these here. Primarily, it was to stop physically handling cash (notes and coins) to prevent the risk of infection for staff. Secondly, taking cash payments means regular trips to the bank to pay in, and also to collect cash for the float/till. At the moment, there are reduced opening hours for banks and this seemed an easy way to avoid the hassle of queueing at banks, as well as the contact with folk in the branch. We're not saying that we won't take cash again in the future, but for the moment this works for us. There is a common misconception that card payments cost more for the customer. This is simply not true! If an item is sold at £5.00, you'll pay the same amount whether that is cash or card. However it does cost Fred's a % of each sale as that goes towards our card payments provider.
Emily #1 has also returned to work from the start of July and we're pleased to have her cheery smile back in the shop. She really does know the customers and products really well and is an asset to Fred's - she just has to remember where everything is hidden now!
As well as Emily#1, we've recruited in some extra helpers in the form of daughters #1 & #2 (also known as Daisy and Lottie). They are learning the shop and products and already know more than their dad (although that's not hard) but please be patient with them, they will be trying their best for you!
We had delivery of Fred's aprons that look very smart. This should make it easier to identify who works in the shop and who doesn't! Look out for them next time you are in.
Steve has started work on clearing out the basement at the shop. You may not even know that we had a basement as it's not been open for the public!
At the moment it is the general dumping ground for everyting that doesn't live upstairs - it's a mishmash of stock, old and new, sofas, equipment and general gubbins! He plans to introduce more storage soon which will allow us to keep more stock at the shop and then further into the future we can open the basement for customers to browse too. We have all the trimmings from the old shop currently in the basement and hope to add more products to this in the future. There is also a large sewing table and chairs and the idea was that this can be used for classes and social groups. When we are able to restart the classes we will be let you know!
Thanks for reading - hope you are all safe and well. We'll keep our fingers crossed for some sun this month as we're all fed up with rain in July!