Last week New Valley News took to our local high streets to chat to some of the local independents who are back open for business. Here’s what they had to say.

Spreading a little happiness with painted windows

Walking around Salisbury, you can’t help but notice various window displays with bright, colourful, cheering messages: When you buy from an independent company an actual person does a happy little dance (Salisbury Carpet Company) Create with the heart, build with the mind (Esdon Architects). Each quote ends with #ShopSalisbury and is decorated with the familiar image of a colourful rainbow.

New Valley News went to meet Michele at Classical Beauty in Winchester Street. By her side is a large trolley full of emulsion tester pots.

“I have been painting the window of Café Diwali, for a while. It has been a great success, people look forward to what I will do next.‘I woke up one morning realising I wanted to do my bit to help the city come out of lockdown, so I thought I could paint more windows. The first two completed were Casa Fina and Memory Opticians, and from there I have been getting lots of calls from the independent shops.”

Kara Rogers, Marketing & Communications Manager of Salisbury BID, said: “We launched a #ShopSalisbury campaign to encourage people to shop locally. They were thrilled when local artist Michele Millidge suggested the idea of painting windows to spread this very important message across the city.”

Michele: cheering up shop windows with hand painted quotes

While we have been chatting – only 30 minutes – the artwork is complete and the window has its own personal magical touch. Michele packs up the trolley and heads off to the next two appointments.

“We hope the messages on the windows will inspire people to continue to shop locally and do their bit to save our city centre.” Kara from Salisbury BID said.

The windows are painted in Michele’s own time, but she would love each shop to donate a little to her chosen charity – Child Link, International Aid Foundation. The link can be found on her Facebook page Michele Millidge ART. #ShopSalisburycampaign

Kara Rogers, Salisbury BID: encouraging people to shop locally

Outside art event inspired by lockdown

Artists and artisans from in and around the City of Salisbury are coming together to show- case their skills and provide an exciting two-day arts event on Saturday July 11 to Sunday July 12. Art varying from photographs to textiles, ceramics to handcrafts will be displayed outside.

“We look forward to displaying our arts at what we hope will be the first of many outdoor displays,” Sally Edwards the Event Co-ordinator said. “The idea for SALISBURY ARTS SCENE was inspired by the lockdown and the subsequent cancellation of all art and craft exhibitions, fairs and trails.

“The need for artists to display and sell their art and keep the industry alive and flourishing, was the driving force behind the creation of SAS.

“With social distancing being of utmost importance a workable solution was required that would enable both artists and art lovers to inspire and be inspired while creating an exciting buzz in and around our city for all to enjoy.  “There is nothing better than seeing art in the flesh… being able to stand back and view art work, walk round sculptures, or pick up pottery and a variety of crafts is all part of the experience.”

Long queues for waffles in Salisbury

Those with a sweet tooth will be thrilled to have Wafflemeister back in Salisbury.

“We’ve been genuinely overwhelmed at the fantastic reception, since we reopened,” Alex Nettle, the owner, told New Valley News.

“We’re running a limited menu and operating with fewer staff than usual. People are so pleased to see us back that they don’t mind waiting a little longer than usual for their delicious, freshly baked Liège waffles, Illy coffee, delicious thick shakes and Gelato. There are obviously no tourists in Salisbury at the moment, but with the wonderful support we continue to receive from the discerning, local clientele, we’re going to be just fine.”

Member of staff Erin Doherty said: “Seeing Salisbury busy again was lovely. At Wafflemeister, we are now serving out of our big windows, which is great when the sun is shining. I was very happy to see some regular faces, and their kids were very excited to see us back!”

Customers respecting precautions at Casa Fina

“We have been hugely grateful for all the support shown to us in the first week of reopening.” Susi Mason from  Casa Fina said. “Our customers have been really encouraging and respectful of all the Covid Secure precautions that we have put in place and understand that the restricted hours will extend as the weeks go on.

“During the lockdown period, we extended our online offer and we are reaching out to those shielding at home to enable them to shop remotely via the online shop or through email or video call.”

Coconut and Cotton are confident about the future

Coconut and Cotton in Swan’s Yard, Shaftesbury has been trading during lockdown. “I had to furlough my staff but I carried on doing deliveries,” Lucy Barfoot told New Valley News.

“It was really really busy. I was delivering products to villages as far as Dinton. I do a refill service of sustainable products, people were dropping their bottles at the door and I would deliver new bottles to them.”

Lucy continues to be busy now lockdown has finished. She has set up a gazebo outside her shop, because it is so small, for the time being. She will get the products for people. “I am lucky to be selling a product at the forefront of new types of businesses but it is a very hard time being an employer at the moment. I have a small team and I will not be able to have the whole team back. There is a sense of guilt, although it is not my fault. Everyone’s life is compromised at the moment.”

Despite these hard times, Lucy was confident about the future. She was going to open a Coconut and Cotton in Salisbury: it won’t happen quite yet but she hopes to in the future.

The Wilton Barbers on preparing to open

At the time of going to print, NVN was waiting to hear if the Prime Minister was going to give the go-ahead to the restaurant, hairdressing and beauty industry. Jodie Gannon at The Wilton Barbers was fully prepared for opening: “We have moved chairs out of the barbers to create more space and sanitiser are in place. The biggest outlay has been buying 200 gowns so that the barbers have a new gown for each customer. We have an online system so do go on-line and book an appointment.”

Step out in style with Cole & Co Boutique

Nestled in the picturesque town of Shaftesbury, Cole & Co. Boutique has undergone a magical makeover and is now fresh, vibrant and open for business.

Owner Vanessa Edwards-Coles has an eye for fashion with attention to detail, creating the perfect look, giving you the confidence to step out in style. Vanessa can help build your capsule wardrobe with key pieces that you can mix & match to get the perfect look whatever the occasion.

Here’s what other local businesses had to say

“I am getting so many calls from clients wanting their hair cut or dyed! It is a frustrating time seeing other shops opening and our doors are still closed. But our salon has been set up so clients will sit two metres apart from each other, and our staff our trained for the moment we are open. ” – Jill, Odette Hairdressing, Tisbury

“I really want to thank all the locals for their support and for their custom. Everyone is respecting the guide lines and using the sanitiser. There is a very positive atmosphere in the town.” Tina, Manageress, Timothy’s, Fordingbridge

“It’s lovely to be back open, everyone has been so positive. People have said how much they appreciate having a local gift shop with local products. ” Jo, The Bay Window Gift Shop, Wilton

“We have been really busy since opening, I think the lockdown has made people want to shop locally. Tisbury has had a buzz about it in the first week of opening.” Clare, Casawara, Tisbury

New Valley News chats to more local independents who are back open for business here.