CHIPPENHAM is bouncing back after coronavirus lockdown but traders say they need people to keep shopping local to help keep their businesses safe.

Town Council leader Sandie Webb knows more than most about how important it is for locals to support their shops as her family have been trading in the town for nearly 50 years.

She said: “Shoestrings and Buckles run by the Webb family have seen some ups and downs in the nearly 50 years they have been trading in Chippenham.

“But nothing has prepared us for the unprecedented circumstances that have occurred this year.

“Shoestrings had no digital presence before Covid 19 but we have found social media and a website were critical to keeping customers informed. With the support and patience of customers we feel positive we can keep feeding the people of Chippenham far into the future.”

A spokesman for Borough Parade said: "Borough Parade are delighted to welcome back businesses and customers to our centre. Since non essential stores have been allowed to open and lockdown rules have eased, we have noticed the centre gradually spring back to life, with the majority of our occupiers now open. I don’t think it’s just the shopping people have missed, but the social interactions too.

"The centre team and individual stores have worked round the clock to reopen and make their environments as welcoming as possible, whilst implementing new procedures for hygiene and social distancing. It’s great to see such local support and our customers feeling comfortable to shop with the current measures in place.

"We are so grateful for all our customers that have chosen to return and support our businesses. It’s been a tough time for retail and we need their support to see our retailers and businesses succeed through this period and into the coming months. We all know the convenience of shopping online but also hope people consider the wider community aspect of keeping our local shops going.

"We are also delighted to announce that a new independent Nail & Beauty salon will be opening in the parade, opposite the O2 store, in the next few weeks."

Shopkeeper Cina Minney, who runs Cousin Norman’s in New Road, adapted her stock during lockdown to include more vegan food. They also have a refill area for household cleaning and bathroom supplies and have estimated since January this year have refilled hundreds of bottles for customers with everything from handwash to glass cleaner.

It hopes to attract new customers by holding a school uniform clothes swap from July 27 to August 9 and to hold a bike repair shop in the future.

Chippenham town council chief executive Mark Smith said it was working with Emery Gate, Borough Parade and Chippenham Chamber of Commerce to support traders.

He said the town’s Charter Market was going from strength to strength since it returned fully at the beginning of June.

Chippenham Chamber of Commerce president Kathryn Crosweller, who works for Natural Numbers accountancy firm, said: “The next few months will be make or break for a lot of businesses, and we hope that the sense of the community pulling together as we saw throughout lockdown will continue in the form of people supporting local businesses.”

Commercial estate agent Hue Thomas said: “Business has got going again quite quickly with a good number of enquiries for commercial properties both for viewings and offers.

“The industrial/warehouse market is very active with strong demand; surprisingly there is some demand in the retail market, but the office market is dead and I think will be for a while yet as occupiers work out how they will operate going forward.”

Solicitors Batt Broadbent said: “There is certainly confidence returning since the lockdown started to be lifted and we expect the recent changes to stamp duty to help the property market.”

In Devizes independent traders have band together to create Devizes Indie to support each other during recovery from coronavirus.

Its website does call outs for businesses old and new and acts as a showcase for the community.

One business that recently re-opened is Savage Beauty run by Emma Savage. She said: “One amazing positive from this pandemic is the overwhelming sense of community and support we have received from fellow beauty therapist, salon owners, business owners and our clients.

“We have received so many messages of support, we really are all in this together.”