Businesses across Stratford district enjoy welcoming customers back

Last week many non-essential businesses reopened across England as lockdown restrictions eased

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 10:26 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 10:52 am

Businesses in the Stratford district have been enjoying the return of their loyal customers after months of lockdown.

With many non-essential retailers, pubs, cafes, restaurants, gyms and salons all reopening – albeit with restrictions – they have hoped customers will come back and support them.

And businesses have largely seen their customers do just that, with plenty in the district seeing a big boost in demand since they were able to reopen.

Glenn Cooper and Kellie Sweeney (foreground) with their clients at Better than Before Fitness in Stockton. Photo supplied

Chris Creasey, landlord of The Keys in Stratford, reopened on Monday, April 12, and welcomed back many customers eager for their first trip to the pub in months.

During the last lockdown, Chris decided to purchase three other pubs in Stratford district – The Bull at Stratford, The Salmon Tail, and The Snitterfield Arms.

He said: “The reopening went really well – it had obviously been a bit of a struggle when I’ve been closed but we’re fully booked in our pubs for a while now.

“But I took a little bit of a gamble and bought more pubs in the area during the last lockdown.

Chris Creasey (centre), landlord of The Keys in costume for a modern version of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor with Pranan Agnihotri (left) and Justin Osborne (right). Photo supplied

"I also reopened The Bull on April 12, I’m planning on opening the Salmon Tail on May 17, and I’m taking bookings for The Snitterfield Arms.

“I’ve got plans for music and plays to return in July assuming restrictions ease in time. My thinking was when everything opens up fully, it’ll be better to have four pubs than one.

“It’s just nice to see people out and about in Stratford again. If more people are willing to come out and support their pubs and other businesses, the sooner we will recover.”

Gyms have also reopened in the district, allowing people to get back to their workout routines which they may not have been able to do during lockdown.

Kellie Sweeney, who runs Better than Before Fitness in Stockton with her partner Glenn Cooper, was delighted to welcome back the gym’s clients – and has also received bookings from new members too.

“We were a little bit apprehensive before our new opening date, but when the first clients came in for their 7am session, all the nerves had gone,” she said.

“So many of our clients were so supportive – some even paid full membership during lockdown even though we were only giving sessions remotely. We’re really grateful to them.

“What’s nice is we’ve picked up some new clients too, and our sessions have been booked up for many weeks now.

“The council have been so supportive throughout – they always updated us on the status of our grant applications and if any new grants were available to apply for.

“We’re hopeful we can continue this upward momentum and continue to give our clients a great service.”

Cllr Matt Jennings, portfolio holder for economic development and tourism at Stratford District Council, said: “As our businesses reopen around the district, it’s great to hear that customers are returning to support them in a safe way.

“We will continue to pay out grants to businesses as soon as we can, and to advise businesses on what grants are suitable for them and when they are likely to be paid.”