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Muddy opinion: let’s support our shops

Anyone else itching to get into a real shop when they open on 15 Jun? Here's why we think hitting our local high streets is a good thing.

As lockdown eases, retailers classed as non-essential are allowed to start reopening from Monday 15 June and we could not be happier at this news. We know some people will be very cautious about hitting their local high street just yet – obviously, there is still a virus out there and that threat shouldn’t be taken lightly – but our feeling is that if you feel safe, confident and able to do so, let’s show our favourite local shops our support. 

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that Muddy has always been about championing the plucky, diverse, brilliant independent retailers that proudly pepper the high streets of Suffolk’s and Cambs’ villages and towns – and they need us more than ever right now. Never has the phrase ‘use it or lose it’ been more pertinent.

Local business owners have been working hard to make their spaces safe for customers and staff. We can’t wait to get back in the interiors heaven that is Angela Reed in Saffron Walden (opening Tuesday 16 June) following the one-way system round the shop and helping ourselves to the free hand sanitiser; Burwash Manor is a brilliant place to head right now thanks to it’s open al fresco courtyard set-up, so we’ll finally be able to buy some gifts for the birthdays that we’ve missed during lockdown (fuelling our shopping with takeaway coffee and cake from Flock Cafe, of course); and one of our favourite clothes boutiques in Southwold, Collen & Clare, is operating a booking system so you can browse in a relaxed setting without constantly checking you’re two metres apart from the next fashionista.

So where I am heading this week? Well, I’ll be hotfooting it to Heffers in Cambridge to stock up on books for my toddler (or head to Toppings if you’re Ely-based) – it’s broken my heart during lockdown to have to order books from Amazon while this much-loved local literary treasure trove has been shuttered. I’m also hoping to tiptoe my way to Grand Arcade, Cambridge (John Lewis is opening on June 18) just to enjoy the buzz! And I’ll be shedding my joggers and PJ tops after a much-needed visit to Javelin in Bury St Edmunds to refresh my lockdown wardrobe. A pub or restaurant experience will have to wait another few weeks but that’s OK, I’m a patient woman. 

So where will be your first port of call and why? We’d love to hear your shout-outs for your local high street heroes – tell us in the comments box below. Don’t forget your face mask and hand sanitiser, along with your credit card!

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