Malmesbury Town Team supports retailers and hospitality sector amidst Covid-19 challenges

By Ben Carey on 13 July, 2020

Malmesbury Town Team is helping its members through the challenges faced by Covid-19 as social distancing measures continue to impact on trade.

The current government requirements, which include the provision of space to queue outside shops, has necessitated the widening of pavements, leading to a reduction in parking spaces in the town.

The Town Team is offering support and guidance to local businesses affected by these measures and is asking them to consider the challenges they may face in the future. Regular conference calls are held for business owners, with experts on hand for one-to-one sessions on operations, marketing and finance.

Malmesbury Town Team spokesperson, Gordon MacPherson, said, “The challenge retailers face is massive; many people may not be immediately comfortable coming back to town centres even with increased safety measures.

“Now that we’re in a position to safely open up to the public again, businesses in Malmesbury are looking towards what the future could look like. Click and collect will continue to grow, perhaps with opportunities for towns to create an online collective platform for businesses which operate in bricks and mortar only.

“Increased online options and delivery services will be welcomed not just by the elderly or by those shielding but also the additional people now working from home. Plus, there’s a huge opportunity to make the most of our shop local Malmesbury Gift Card scheme launched late in 2019 with over 34 town centre shops and businesses involved.”

Malmesbury’s The Summer Café has embraced this vision for the future, having re-opened on 3rd July with an easy to use click and collect takeaway menu. In addition, they have expanded the business into premises next door in readiness to implement social distancing measures for customers wanting to eat in.

Owner Debbie Wood said, “We’ve had a very positive response to our click and collect service. People have found it easy and convenient to be able to order and pay online, then pop in at the selected time and pick up their coffee or brunch. It’s a great way of helping to overcome the challenges of social distancing.

“Everything we can do to make it easy and safe for people to shop in Malmesbury is great for the town centre in general, so we are really pleased to have been able to take this step.”

Gordon MacPherson added, “We are living in strange times and we all need to adjust. Sustainability, climate change, community and green spaces are what our minds should be exploring, not to mention how technology can help us all, and before all that, how we get through the immediate crisis which will be with us for a long time.

“Let’s all support our local traders. Whilst there are tough times ahead a massive opportunity exists as customers move to local rather than regional destinations. Let’s not forget how lucky we are in Malmesbury to live in such a vibrant, treasured and historic space as we return to the high street, shop local and see our businesses build again for the future.”

Any business interested in joining the next conference call for business owners should email hello@discovermalmesbury.life