In an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, the owner of design-led gift shop and workshop space, Chirpy in Chapel Allerton, Jo McBeath, has urged people to support local businesses, even when shopping online.
Jo, who sells a wide range of unique products, including home accessories, greetings cards, jewellery, ceramics and wall art, uses the hashtag #shoplocalonline to encourage people to support local independent retailers.
Her own venture into online trading began when Chirpy was forced to close back in March due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Since then, e-commerce has become a vital part of her business and could also become a lifeline for other indies looking for ways to survive and thrive in the rapidly changing retail landscape.
Jo said: “You can’t stop people shopping online. But if you can’t beat them join them, so what I want to do is get them to shop local online. The online part of the business is going to be really important, especially when we are having to limit the number of people we have in the shop due to social distancing. In the run up to Christmas we might get 25 people in my little shop, all buying gifts. If I can only have three in at one time I can’t make the money I usually make at Christmas, which sets you up for the year.”
Customers can now order via her website then either pop into the physical store to collect their purchases or opt for a home delivery. Jo’s gift wrap and deliver service is also popular, especially for those sending cards and gifts for new baby parents.
Jo added: “It is just about getting people to stop and think. If they would come and visit the Chirpy shop to buy presents, but can’t make it to the shop for whatever reason, they can order from us online. People in Chapel Allerton were really supportive of all the food shops during lockdown so the footfall has still been here and we haven’t had to start from scratch. I have been pleasantly surprised at the number of customers who have come into the shop in the last month.”
The Yorkshire Evening Post has been telling local stories since 1890.