Third lockdown threatens Knaresborough retail revival
Jan 7, 2021

The prospect of a lengthy third lockdown with no firm end date in sight is causing serious concern among Knaresborough retailers.

Knaresborough has seen a boom in new businesses lately but the current uncertainty is putting new and old shops in jeopardy.

The town’s streets have been eerily quiet this week after non-essential shops were forced to close again. Many are moving online to try to reduce financial losses.

Additional financial support has been offered by the government but shops say this isn’t enough to cover the money they would have made by staying open.

Country 2 Western, on Castlegate, sells a wide range of American-themed items from cowboy boots to belt buckles. One of its owners, Christine McLeod, said it relies on venues and music festivals to sell its niche products.

She added:

“We’ve been struggling since the first lockdown in March. We had to change what we were selling, we are keeping the American feel but a little different to normal.

“This lockdown is worrying for the future of our business. If music events are still cancelled this year we’d seriously have to re-think what we sell, it’s having a massive effect.”

Ms McLeod said she will focus her efforts on online sales but added it was vital music events were able to continue in summer.

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On the high street, The Clothing Store of Knaresborough only opened a few months before lockdown hit.

Its owner, Rebecca Lombardi, was left “devastated” by the announcement and is worried that the short amount of time she has had to establish the business will impact online sales.

She said:

“There is so much to think about so quickly. It’s scary and there are so many mixed emotions. In the other lockdown we didn’t make much from online sales so this time may not be successful but I’m going to try to build our online presence.

“I’m remaining hopeful for when we do eventually reopen.”

Bill Taylor, treasurer of Knaresborough Chamber of Trade, said:

“Many businesses in Knaresborough adapted to survive where they could during the previous lockdowns and it is great to see a similar desire this time round. The town really came together to ensure everyone kept safe.

“Knaresborough chamber will continue to support all of the local businesses however it can, and continue engagement with local authorities to ensure businesses are aware of all of the support that is available.”

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