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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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History & CommunityWhat next for Business?

What next for Business?

Learning about how local businesses have coped with the Coronavirus pandemic is the goal of a series of video interviews that Seth Dellow has conducted for The Marshwood Vale Magazine.
This month he interviewed Roger Snook of T Snook in Bridport and Simon Holmes from Axminster Books in Axminster. Both high street retailers, it has been interesting to hear how they have fared, and most importantly how they hope to deal with the future.
Simon Holmes took over Axminster Books about 18 months ago and just before the pandemic hit he was feeling that the market for books in print was picking up. Although the internet and digital reading had initially caused many independent bookshops to struggle and indeed many to close, Simon has seen an increase in trade over the last couple of years and had experienced a ‘pretty good year’ before he had to close in March.
With over 6,000 books in the shop his first thought was how to continue to trade. Inevitable that meant even more work than normal. ‘I was probably even busier’ says Simon, ‘trying to get different innovations up and running.’ He managed to get all of his 6,000+ books onto the website and traded through the lockdown.
Simon’s story may be echoed across many businesses in the area and his thoughts, shared in this video interview, are definitely worth hearing. His interview is available on our YouTube channnel at: https://youtu.be/a6qaBkrOV88.
Roger Snook’s business in Bridport started originally in 1896 as a gentlemen’s outfitter, although today it is best known as a hatter. The business now supplies hats all around the world. The shop also carries accessories such as bow ties, cravats, collar studs and even snuff. Roger says they also have ‘the largest selection of mustache wax in the empire.’
Roger’s experience of the pandemic was similar to most high street retailers in that he also had to shut his doors. However, he didn’t have the luxury of trading online. ‘With sizings and so forth on headware’ he says ‘you’ve got to try it on.’ He believes that buying a hat online is a waste of time because getting the right fit can only be achieved in the shop. Which means that expertise is a requisite when it comes to dealing with customers.
Thankfully, he is surrounded by staff that know what they are talking about. Praising their resilience and support during the last few months, in a time that no one could ever have prepared for, he called them the most brilliant staff you could possibly wish for. ‘They all should be given a degree in hatology’ he says.
Roger’s philosophy on dealing with the pandemic and the fall out for business is refreshingly blunt. There’s little we can do other than, ‘get on with it.’
Both of our business interviews offer fascinating insights into the effects of the last few months on our wider local community.
To watch them visit our YouTube Channel at: https://youtu.be/a6qaBkrOV88.

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