'Anxious' Peterborough retailer 'not looking forward to reopening'

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Peterborough retailer 'nervous' about re-opening post lockdown (Picture: Nurun Ahmed)

Nurun Ahmed is an independent retailer and has been running Fusion Flair in the Westgate Arcade for nearly four years. Her business specialises in headscarves, stoles and home and fashion accessories. 

However, like many other businesses struggling in the current circumstances, Nurun said she has had a tough time and ‘regrets’ not being online. 

The former Apprentice candidate first set up her scarves business at the Peterborough Market. After a successful run for three years in the niche market of headscarves, Nurun moved to the Arcade and expanded her client base. 

However, she has been wanting to take her business to the next level and go online to expand her customer base even more. In fact, Nurun has regretted not doing so earlier and feels she has missed out during the lockdown. 

She is preparing to welcome customers from next week following government guidelines. Although, she is not the most excited. Since the Beales store is now shut and the market car park is demolished, Nurun feels the footfall will be significantly impacted. 

Speaking to Peterborough Matters, Nurun said: “It has been a difficult time, especially as I am an independent retailer. I have received my business support offered by the government. 

“I am preparing to re-open after months of being closed in mid-June. However, I can’t say I am looking forward to it. 

“The lockdown has showed how important it is to adapt your business with the times and I regret not taking it online. I have been wanting to do it for a while now.  

“Going forward, that’s my priority - to have an online presence for Fusion Flair and expand my customers. 

“I have a small unit so it will be tricky to socially distance and that’s why I am going to restrict entry to two customers at a time. To be honest, I am not worried about lack of social distancing in my shop being a concern, as I am pretty sure I won’t have that many customers in the first place.  

"It sounds too negative, but I am concerned about the footfall, especially for the arcade. The Arcade was used a cut through from Beales and other areas around the centre. But, Beales has shut and the market car park has gone. 

"Also, people are still nervous about stepping out because of the pandemic. The financial situations of many have also been impacted, and that’s why I feel it’s going to be a slow start for retail. It’s going to be challenging for us business owners like myself. 

“I am very uncertain about my future. But more determined to make the most of the opportunity and start an online presence. My customers are demanding it as well now, so that’s a good sign.”