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Nairn BID urges members of the public to ‘buy local’ to help out local businesses

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Lucy Harding.
Lucy Harding.

An organisation which was set up to support its town’s businesses is reiterating the 'shop local' message to ensure that they survive this second lockdown.

And a bistro which changed its business model following the first lockdown is urging business owners not to lose hope Nairn BID which has around 300 members is urging the public to continue to spend their money locally where they can.

Lucy Harding, manager of Nairn BID said: “Coming into a lockdown at the start of the new year was not where anyone wanted to be. In normal times January is a notoriously tough time of year for most businesses, but now being thrown into a second lockdown, we need to do all we can to help the businesses get through this and survive.”

She added: “The Nairn business owners have shown such resilience and have adapted to the pandemic by changing how they operate, whether that’s moving to online platforms, offering deliveries or other ingenious ways of operating, but they won’t get through this without the support of the local people.

“Many shops may be shut, but there are so many that now have websites and are offering delivery. If you are about to order something online, check first whether you can get it locally online.

“There are also so many shops who are deemed as essential such as our butcher, delis, fruit and veg shops, and the pet shop to name but a few. All we are saying is that where you can, use these small local shops.”

One such business which was hit massively in the first lockdown was ONE ONE TWO on the (High Street) Brae.

The award-winning eatery was forced to close and even when restrictions eased, due to the small size of the premises, the owners still could not open.

However, Kirstin Hamilton and Gordon Kidd who run the business with Kirstin’s mum Cathy changed the business model meaning that in this second lockdown, they can still operate.

Gordon explained: “The first lockdown was disastrous. At the start we were in a similar position to all the restaurants in the town and we did what we could such as offering wine deliveries. We also collaborated with a local butcher to sell some of our meals. With the great support of our local community and other local businesses we made it through.

“However, when it was announced that hospitality could open, but with restrictions, we realised very quickly that in order to meet the standards required to open safely we lost a huge number of tables purely due to the small size of the bistro which ironically was something that people loved about the place.”

Kirstin added: “We knew that Covid wasn’t going to go away and although we did re-open, we realised that ONE ONE TWO couldn’t be sustained as a bistro. ONE ONE TWO on the Brae is now operating as deli and wine bar meaning the deli side of the business can remain open.

“Our gamble paid off,” explained Kirstin who recently joined Nairn BID as a board member.

“Although things are still not easy, we have definitely made the right decision and when things do return to normality, we now have the best of both worlds - a deli serving sensational food and wine which can be taken away or enjoyed on the premises.”

She added: “All we would say is for businesses not to give up. It is extremely tough, we have been through some of our darkest days, but slowly even in this second lockdown, we are starting to come out the other side.”

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