The Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on many small businesses in Salford, but with Christmas just around the corner, there has never been a better time to support your local high-street.

Helen Walker, the owner of Wholehearted Florists and coffee shop in Worsley, only opened her business in August 2019 and admitted it was “petrifying” when she found out she would have to shut her shop in March due to the national lockdown.

“We hadn’t even got 12 months under, we had come through Christmas, we had come through Mother’s Day to really start to build the business up and then to shut down it was a bit of a blow really.

“People were coming in wishing us well, saying hope you’ll return and hope you can come back, because of obviously the fear of when we will be able to reopen because at that point no one knew – so it was a really scary time” Walker said.

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While it was challenging to begin with, Walker described how she used the extra time on her hands to “try and assess the situation”.

“It did give time to have a good look at the business, look at ways it could be developed, what other product ranges I could introduce into the shop and have a look at the website.

“All those things that you don’t really get a chance to do because you’re so busy at other times, it gave time to actually sit down and have a really good look and put some plans in place as well, so I tried to use that time wisely.”

As with most things in 2020, Walker has had to adapt her business to suit the demands of her customers during these challenging times.

“It’s just about adapting to what people’s needs are, I said a couple of months ago ‘if ever there was a year to send flowers it was this year!’

“We get a lot more requests for deliveries now and we get a lot more orders through the website than we used to because obviously people aren’t coming into the shop possibly as much as they were doing” she said.

Posted by Wholehearted Florists Worsley on Sunday, 8 November 2020

However, Walker admitted she has seen a change in attitudes from the public when it comes to supporting people within the community – as a result of the pandemic.

“There are a lot of people out walking an awful lot more now so they are more aware of what is around them.

“A couple of people literally just stood there (in the shop) in tears, just so grateful to be out somewhere but to actually feel safe somewhere as well – it has become part of the community.”

With Christmas just around the corner, this is often a busy time for businesses in the local area and Walker is hoping this year more people will support their local high-street than ever before.

“I stock items that have been made by other local artists and people as well, I must have another ten – possibly eleven – smaller business that I support within my shop.

“We are just self-employed local people who are just trying to make a living, we haven’t got the backing of big businesses and if people don’t come and shop local then unfortunately we are the ones that will fold” she stated.

If you are thinking of shopping local this Christmas, check out this map of small businesses for some inspiration:

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