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Wisbech business owner's 'support it or lose it' message

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A business man is warning people to use local shops or lose them after being forced to close the doors to one of his stores.

Nathaniel Woodward says he was broken-hearted to close the Long Sutton Woodward’s Confection shop last month after seeing a 90 per cent reduction in trade since the second lockdown.

Mr Woodward, who runs the business with partner Leah Huggins, says that the Wisbech shop is staying open but he needs support from the town.

Nathaniel and Leah Woodward at their Wisbech sweet shop. (47579146)
Nathaniel and Leah Woodward at their Wisbech sweet shop. (47579146)

He said: “Running two shops is very difficult and combined with the mental pressure of lockdown I wasn’t in a good place.

“Things just are not the same in Long Sutton - anyone will tell you that - and we just couldn’t sustain the business. It broke my heart to do it but it’s closed forever.

“I think if we had another lockdown I would close the business and I wouldn’t try to survive it. The Government aren’t supporting us any more but trade is worse now than it was during lockdown as people are utilising their time and money to go on days out.

We are doing okay with Wisbech and the online shop but you need the support - we’re ticking over but trade has dramatically dropped.”

Mr Woodward, who is also also continuing to trade online, says he has also been forced to put his prices up as suppliers have doubled the price of stock.

He said: “The cost of things are going up so I’ve had to put my prices up.

“Penny sweets have gone up to 2p so no matter which way you look at it, that’s a double cost.

“I haven’t put my prices up by double but I’ve had no choice to put them up. People say the cost of living’s going up and they’ve had to spend £25 extra on their weekly shop but I’m scrutinised for putting 20p on a hundred grams of sweets.”

Nathaniel says that as small businesses are struggling to survive, he started to look at things in a different way.

He said: “I was working seven days a week which just wasn’t healthy but now I’ve got free time again which is better.

“Hopefully Wisbech carries on - it’s not looking like its going anywhere.

“I could easily just trade online which would be a lot easier and would cost less money but I’m staying in the town.

“But the message is simple; support it or lose it.”

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