Thame shops fight back
Since the start of lockdown, the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses in Thame has shone through.
They have taken positive action to help themselves and help each other, defying the odds rather than rolling over in defeat, says the town council. They have put community interest ahead of their own and have often been able to provide better stock availability than the big supermarkets. Many businesses are trading again, with many more set to join them from the week beginning 15 June.
These businesses deserve to flourish as life returns to some sort of normal, and as a return some sort of new ‘normality’ is already beginning, Thame Town Council is doing what it can to support them. The following initiatives are just part of this work:
A Shop Local promotion:
Thame Town Council, in co-operation with Thame Rewards Club, has been working to encourage people to shop locally and support the independent businesses that are central to Thame. This has included supporting Thame Rewards Club to established their ‘Shop OX9 Directory’ – a service free to local businesses that signposts residents to one central location where information about opening times and how to access services is being updated regularly in response to the fast changing situation.
Find out more about local businesses and their new opening times at www.shopox9.com.
Like most of the country there are lots of queues lining pavements in Thame at the moment. The thought of having to stand in one of these is off-putting, let alone the obstruction they cause to people accessing adjoining businesses, or even just walking past.
To attempt to overcome this issue, Thame Town Council has kindly been gifted the use of an app called ‘SmartQ’ by local company Adactus (see picture above). This app, which requires just an initial mobile number registration, allows customers to pick a convenient time to join a ‘queue’ either via the app, text or from a shop staff member at a safe distance.
Once booked, people receive a ticket on their phone or at the shop, with an estimated wait time and number of people ahead in the ‘queue’, so they can wait safely at home or in their car, or visit another business without a queue while they are waiting.
When it is their time to access the shop, SmartQ will send a second alert advising them to proceed to the store’s entrance.
Businesses are going to be coming on board gradually, so people are askesd to download it now and keep checking it regularly for the shops they are using.
Enabling social distancing:
After weeks of lockdown shoppers might be feeling nervous about coming back into the town centre.
Even with SmartQ an element of queuing will still remain, and as more businesses open social distancing will become trickier. In order to help make it easier, shoppers will see a number of measures implemented such as floor stickers that will help people to navigate the town as successfully as possible, keeping to social distancing guidelines and maintaining the safety of themselves and other people.