'Destination Sidmouth is no bad thing'

Small business owner smiling while turning the sign for the reopening of the place after the quarant

Some people are anxious as lockdown restrictions begin to lift - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

While we celebrate the fact that we have all had the chance to enjoy Christmas, uncertainty begs the question, are we ready for the year ahead?

Given everything that we have endured over what is now the last two years the answer must surely be a resounding yes!

During the first lockdown, everyone raced to get their products online and keep their businesses going, something which proved to demonstrate how adaptable we really are.

Yet after three separate lockdowns, wasn’t it such a joy to be out in the street interacting with real people, boldly walking through shop doorways and being greeted by those inside who were only too pleased to see people again?

The internet undoubtedly has its place when it comes to retail sales, but the public voted with their feet this year, making it very clear that real shopping with real people is an experience that is not going anywhere and is to to be enjoyed time and time again - and certainly not destined for the laptop.

With restrictions on travel not being so stringent this year, the town has encouragingly yet again witnessed an influx of visitors that would not normally arrive in Sidmouth. And if we as business owners have done part of our job properly, then we will have encouraged many of them to come back next year, which can only be a good thing for the local economy all round.

The potential stop/start scenario of the economy due to the various lockdowns has seriously hampered many companies, but we have quickly adapted to the challenges it presents and more importantly so have our customers who, let’s face it, keep things all ticking along.

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And although some may feel as though we have returned to a slightly primitive structure of business, if it helps to keep things rolling along then who are we to complain? The term 'shop local' has never been more applicable.

The announcement of a grant for companies in the hospitality sector must be a step in the right direction, although many are voicing concerns that it is simply not enough, but every little helps, especially if we have encouraged new visitors to the town.

Destination Sidmouth is not such a bad thing!