Cobblers and Keys in Sudbury stresses importance of shopping locally after helping to produce PPE for key workers fighting coronavirus
A business helping to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) says it is happy to do something positive during the coronavirus crisis, but warned it may be a long time before high-street trade returns to normal.
The Sudbury branch of Cobblers and Keys is assembling hundreds of protective visors using its laser cutting machine, as part of a co-ordinated effort led by Suffolk teacher Andy Gardiner, urging communities to produce and donate equipment to East Suffolk PPE.
The shop has teamed up with Sub Dubs, the town’s vintage Volkswagen club, which is transporting the visors to a distribution hub in Beccles, to be sent on to hospitals, care homes and St John’s ambulance volunteers.
Simon Evans, manager of Cobblers and Keys in the Borehamgate precinct, told the Free Press: “It’s a very concerning time, but we’re all in the same boat.
“We know hospitals haven’t got enough PPE, so we’re trying to do everything we can to help. I have got family members who work in hospitals and care homes, so I know first hand from them what’s going on.”
Simon explained that he has seen both sides of the pandemic’s impact on businesses, having seen trade at Cobblers and Keys cease overnight, while its subsidiary, the online gift store Katie’s Custom Gifts, has experienced a boom in sales.
He expressed his gratitude for the support of government, councils and landlords during the lockdown, but stated help for small businesses would need to continue once they reopen.
“It is obvious we will not be going back to a bustling, busy high street as we have been warned social distancing guidance will be in force for many months to come,” he added.
“I cannot stress enough that shopping locally is a must if people want to keep any kind of high street. I see first hand how damaging not using local shops can be on a lot of businesses.
“Without the support of local shoppers, our high streets will be visibly different come 2021, with many more vacant, boarded up shops.”
To support East Suffolk PPE, go online to www.facebook.com/eastsuffolkppe.
More by this authorThomas Malina