TRAID charity shops have been closed since March when we went into lockdown and so, it was with some delight that we greeted the recent announcement that non-essential shops – including our charity shops – could reopen.
Nevertheless, the reality of emerging from this state of suspended animation is trickier and less certain than it was going in to lockdown. As things start to ease, it seems that the rules and guidelines for individuals, communities and businesses will be subject to frequent change for some time yet.
With this in mind, it was with cautious optimism that last week we re-opened four of TRAID’s most spacious charity shops in Dalston, Kilburn, Peckham and Shepherd’s Bush where it is easiest to socially distance.
The team were well prepared in terms of keeping staff and customers as safe as possible, including wearing PPE, newly shielded till areas and closed changing rooms, but we could only guess at what the response from our customers would be.
We are so pleased to report that the response has been phenomenal. Above and beyond our expectations. We’ve welcomed hundreds of customers back – both familiar faces and new – all eager to shop secondhand, pass on clothes donations and support their much-loved local charity shops.
Jose Romero, shop manager at TRAID Peckham said, “Customers were really happy to be back and some of them told us about much they missed shopping with us and having fun in our charity shop. For us, it’s been very rewarding as everyone has been very kind and supportive with the rules. Nobody has complained about the fitting rooms being closed or card payments only. It is really pleasant to see customers charity shopping again. We’re lucky too because this shop is so big and makes is much easier to socially distance and shop safely.”
Domenico Maggipinto, shop manager at TRAID Kilburn added,
“We’ve been positively surprised to see many of our customers have been so enthusiastic for our reopening. Some said they missed us and the first days have been really busy with lots visiting the store. We are offering a warm customer service and we are also realising how many people have, and are going through, a very tough time because of isolation or financial difficulties. From this point of view we are happy and proud to offer a little support making people feel part of our family and providing an affordable eco-friendly service through our second-hand clothes. I think our secondhandfirst mission is more important than ever.”
We want to thank our customers for their support, positivity and understanding that charity shopping may be different for some time to come. It’s been uplifting to discover that our collective passion for sustainable secondhand clothing is as strong, if not stronger than ever!
Being denied access to our local high streets over such a long period of time has been an important reminder to us all what an important resource they are. Not only as places to buy the things we need, but also as places to connect with our neighbours and friends in our communities.
Keeping TRAID charity shops safely open is also vital for the many people who directly benefit from the global projects we fund – from helping thousands of small-holder cotton farmers grow organically to supporting garment working mothers to better care for their children. We can only do this if our charity shops are open for business and we want to thank you for your support so far. It’s been a pleasure to welcome you back.