RETAILERS across west Wiltshire are urging people to ‘shop local’ to give high streets a further boost as they come out of lockdown.

In Trowbridge, many small independent retailers have reopened and are optimistic about business, although some say the recovery could take a while.

Roger Daffurn, 42, of Blobblob’s Hound Hut in Church Walk, said: “I reopened in May after closing on March 24 following the government’s announcement.“There was a huge backlog of dogs. I had a waiting list of 40 and it was a nightmare keeping up with the enquiries.

“I have been working seven days a week and a lot in the evenings to keep up with it.

“After this week, I am hoping it will go back to some sort of normality; a little bit quieter and more manageable.”

Adam Richardson, 49, owner of AR Army Surplus in Church Walk, reopened on June 16 and said he had received little help from the government.

“I was offered only £900, so thank God for Wiltshire Council and small business rates.

“They gave me £10,000, which was a gift, and I managed to increase my overdraft by £5,000.

“People have been coming in in dribs and drabs. Because I am so specialist, I am getting a lot of calls from people who know what they want and are checking to see if I’ve got it. I am lucky that my customers are lovely and loyal.”

Natalie Spillings, 33, of Absolutely Fabulous Flowers in Church Walk, said: “We have been really busy.

“This week has been steady. I think the hot weather has made a difference and we are near the end of the month.

“Whether the coronavirus lockdown will have a long term impact it’s hard to say. I think we are getting back to normality.

“I am trying to stay positive. I think it will be fine after we get through this.”

At Shaws Drapers in Castle Place, manager Angie Willacy and her sales assistant Suzanne Lucas said they had been “really busy” in the first week back.

Suzanne added: “People were really keen to come out. Mornings were really busy and the afternoons quieter.

“Not all the shops in the town centre are open yet. When they do re-open, it will get a lot busier.”

At Power Shoe Repairs and The Key Shop in Castle Street, Bill Ellis, 63, said: “We officially reopened on June 1 but were dealing with emergencies for customers during lockdown.

“The first two weeks were busy but this week has been a bit slower. You just have to accept that is going to happen.

“I don’t expect people to come rushing back to the high streets or to get on buses. It’s going to take time to get back to normal. I am positive about the future,” said Mr Ellis.

“I don’t think it is going to bounce back straight away but I think that it will recover.”

Annabel Devlin, owner of Belle of the Ball bridal boutique in High Street, Melksham, said they have had to open the shop seven days a week to serve all their customers.

“We’ve been super busy and we’ve made lots of brides very happy – it’s been amazing since we re-opened.

“People are always going to get married and as a business that’s been going for 10 years we’re quite resilient to any changes we have to make.

“Our brides are so relaxed with the measures we’ve put in place and we’ve made sure that everyone feels really secure and looked after when they’re here.

“We’ve got sanitising stations as soon as you come in and sanitiser all around the shop and we’ve just changed our process slightly with how we dress brides in the changing room.

“We’ve got a really good community support around us and everyone has just been so happy that we’ve been able to re-open.

“We were closed for about 12 weeks and I think we did about a month’s worth of sales in our first week.

“Our weekdays are pretty much fully booked when they wouldn’t usually be. It’s been incredible.”

Street markets have already been held in Bradford on Avon, Melksham, Trowbridge and Warminster, and the Innox Mills outdoor market in Trowbridge on Sunday, July 19 is going ahead.

Bradford on Avon Town Council has teamed up with Bradford on Avon Business to introduce a Shop Local card giving holders access to special offers at town centre businesses to encourage residents to use local shops now they are open again.

Cllr Simon McNeill-Ritchie, mayor of Bradford on Avon and chairman of the town development committee, said: “The Shop Local scheme is one more way in which we are encouraging our community to pull together out of this unprecedented crisis and one that we hope will bring long-term benefits to everyone who uses it.”

James Sullivan-Tailyour, owner of the Swan Hotel and a member of BoA Business who worked with the town council to create the project, said: “We are very excited about the new Shop Local card and hope it will build a stronger community and encourage people to support their local businesses.”

In Warminster, residents are delighted to be able to shop local in line with the government’s social distancing measures.