'This year has brought out the best in a lot of people' Wakefield shop owner says

Though it’s been tough for everyone the pandemic has brought out the best in a lot of people, a Wakefield shop owner has said.

Thursday, 26th November 2020, 4:45 pm
Amy Robinson and Tom Hunt from The Plant Market

Karen Dews owns clothes shop Nineteen Bank Street in Ossett town centre.

Like a lot of businesses it’s been up and down this year and she has had to find new ways to adapt.

She said: “After two or three weeks at the start of the pandemic when we knew it was going on longer I went into the shop once every week and changed the window display.

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Karen Dews at Nineteen Bank Street in Ossett

“I had a note on the door saying ‘if saying see anything you like let me know’ and I’d take pictures of myself in the outfits to upload to social media.”

She said the situation had inspired community spirit in people and made them appreciate things they might have previously taken for granted.

She said: “People are being kind and supporting each other. It had brought the best out in some people.

“People have seen that there is more to life, simple pleasures like going for a walk and enjoying the countryside. I bought a bike. People have going back to basics, resetting.”

The strength of Ossett as a town played a big role in businesses surviving, even after the blow of losing several bank branches in recent years.

Karen said: “Ossett has a great community feel, all the independents are in a group and we do things to keep people coming but recently your it’s been really difficult. I live in Rothwell and looking at both, there and in Ossett, during lockdown when everything was closed you can see what our high streets will be like in the future if people don’t support local businesses.”

Amy Robinson and Tom Hunt have opened a plant shop on Cross Square in Wakefield city centre.

The business – named The Plant Market – is situated in a unit that used to house Black Craft tattoo studio before the it moved to another location.

Amy got into plants spending time at home with the couple’s three children, aged five and under.

As the plant interest grew into an “addiction”, Amy said, the couple decided to open the shop in the summer during the pandemic.

Though many businesses were struggling plants were enjoying new popularity.

Amy said the number of workers suddenly no longer based in offices was the main recent for the boom.

Amy said: “People are stuck at home. How many millions of people work from home now, look at corners of the room and think how can I make that look better?

“Plants have got so many benefits people don’t realise – they purify the air in your home, they are good for mental health, you have to look after them.”

She said the pandemic had encouraged people to use local businesses.

She said: “It has made people support local more. I think people have realised what is on their doorstep. They see what is on the high street and worry that without support that things might fail.

“That’s the British, I think. We like to support people and think our money is going to helping people out with a family.”

Amy and Tom live in Tingley and have only recently reacquainted themselves with Wakefield as the business opened. Amy said: “We come into Wakefield every day and I have fallen in love with it. You can get lost as a small business in Leeds. Here people get to know each other, especially Mocca Moocho cafe across the road have really supported us.

“We’re in a good place and Wakefield has its own charm.”