Shop Local: Romford fancy dress shop owner reveals impact of Halloween restrictions on business
PUBLISHED: 15:05 23 October 2020
Ken Mears Photography
“If we don’t get a Halloween, it pretty much wipes the year dry for us.”
Those are the words of concerned shop owner Kin Rana, who revealed the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on her fancy dress store Pairs.
Kin has run the shop, in Romford’s Liberty Shopping Centre, for 21 years but said that times have been “really tough”.
She told the Recorder: “Obviously we’re a party shop and, without more than six people getting together, there aren’t many parties going on. So it’s really wiped us out.”
Kin took shop staff off furlough in the run-up to Halloween, which is on October 31, but she said it is “hard to make ends meet” and revealed everything in the shop is on sale.
She added: “If anybody is interested in having some sort of Halloween party or get-together, even if it is just family, there are some big bargains to be had this year.
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“Halloween was just getting bigger and bigger and bigger every year for the past seven or eight years. People were spending more and more on Halloween and getting make-up and costumes, really going to town.”
But she understood why things will be different this year.
“You would be dubious of going trick or treating with your kids. I wouldn’t let my kids go trick or treating. School discos, everything is kind of pretty much wiped out this year.”
Kin said the government have been really helpful but felt that the outlook was bleak for shops without further assistance.
“Without extra support, shops will be closing. It’s as simple as that. We can’t afford to carry on. Even if you have a rates holiday and everything, if there’s nobody coming through the doors, it’s barely covering the wages at the moment.”
The shop owner, whose husband and children used to help out in the shop at Halloween time, said her family always try to shop local. “If the independent businesses go, then you might as well go anywhere. It takes the individuality away from all the town centres. You could go to Lakeside, you could go to Bluewater and it’s just boring. The same thing again and again.
“I think really it is the independents that make a place different and a reason to go.”
Visit the store’s Facebook page at facebook.com/PairsFancyDress.
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