Sawbridgeworth back in business as Boris Johnson's roadmap sees traders reopen
Sawbridgeworth traders got back to business on Monday as they reopened their doors for the first time this year after the second coronavirus lockdown ended.
Cafés and pubs opened their doors for customers outside, while shops welcomed back regulars indoors.
And hairdressers and barbers were inundated with customers desperate to lose their lockdown locks for a more coiffured look.
Toplines owner Greg Rattey revealed most of his customers were embarrassed about their hair – until, he said, “they saw mine!”
“I’ve looked into the mirror most mornings and Bob Geldof has looked back at me,” said Greg, who is a town councillor and due to take up the post of mayor in May.
Greg has also championed the cause of businesses throughout the lockdown and praised the resilience of traders.
“It was great to see the gradual opening of Bell Street today, businesses were keen and eager to get going, their resolve and determination tangible,” he said.
In a Facebook post Greg added: “It has been a long, difficult and arduous time and the challenge has been beyond anything we have ever experienced before.
“At times it has felt as if we would never get through it, but we have and we should feel mighty proud of ourselves.
“I know many have expressed to me their trepidation for the coming weeks, but with the resolve and determination we have all shown during the last difficult year, all will be well.”
Over at Thrive Barbers in London Road, owner Erol Mustafa was keeping tight lipped about some of the sights he’d seen from a haircut standpoint simply saying: “Some of the mums have had some fun!” Erol added his salon was booked up until next week and he was very busy.
Rudhair owner Stephen Ruddock said it was an “incredible feeling” to be back at the salon in The Square, adding: “The upside of lockdown is it really makes you appreciate your team, craft and clients.”
Shopkeepers in the town were excited to be opening their doors again with some having spruced up their stores to celebrate.
Chloe Atkinson, from The Green Room in Bell Street, said: “We've had a facelift, de-clutter and freshen up and are so excited to welcome our customers back again.”
She added: “Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported The Green Room over the last 12 months. It’s been so difficult to stay positive at times and we have come close to giving it all up, but the support we’ve had has kept us going and brought us back.”
Becky Witherden, who owns No 10 Beauty in Bakers Walk, was delighted to be back trading.
I can’t put in to words how lovely it is to be back and have the support from the community,” she said.
“Sawbridgeworth is like a family and the businesses all stick to together to help each other out.
We may only be classed as non-essential but for a client to come in and have a one-to-one pamper is almost like therapy to a lot of people so knowing that we are making people smile and feel amazing each day brings us so much joy.”
Others were keen to tell the Indie how pleased they were to reopen.
Isabel Hospice shop manager Debbie Dyball said everyone was “so positive and happy”, while Claire Newman, who has just opened Soft Touches Aesthetics in Cambridge Road, said people had been so welcoming.
Katie Wood at King William IV pub was delighted to welcome “valued customers back” as was Abu Mojid at Chandini in High Wych.
Crumps Farm traders, including Enchanted Bridal Boutique and Vicki’s Floral Designs, also wanted to remind people they were back in business.
But for residents like Hazel Verity and Ruth Buckmaster it was just great to get out for a coffee and a bite.
“It was so good to sit in the lovely Listed courtyard with a coffee and a toastie before having my hair cut today,” said Hazel. “I was ridiculously happy!”