Axminster has launched a new online mall in a bid to give trade a boost and encourage customers to shop locally now non-essential stores can reopen after the coronavirus lockdown.
The launch of www.totallylocallyaxminster.co.uk encourages shoppers to put Axminster first and support the town’s businesses.
Axminster businesses are invited to take a free page on the site, and list their trade, as the town starts to comeback from the coronavirus shop shutdown.
The new online shopping mall is backed by Axminster Town Council as a way of giving shoppers a one-stop place to search and see what the town has to offer.
To coincide with the launch, Totally Locally Axminster this week revealed its new slogan Shop Like your High Street Depends Upon It … Because It Does.
Axminster county councillor Ian Hall has given £1,000 from his locality budget to help the Totally Locally Axminster campaign.
Barrie Hedges, of Totally Locally Axminster, said the hope was the town’s ‘inherent’ community spirit would be evident more than ever before.
He said: “No one should underestimate quite how big an impact the lockdown has had – and is still having – on the town’s businesses.
“It is not yet clear how many may not make it out the other side of the pandemic, and those in the hospitality sector still have a way to go before they can emerge.”
Jane Rockett, of Axminster Printing, a Totally Locally Axminster member, said: “Through the gloom of trying to get going again there is an underlying sense that Axminster can move on from this with the right impetus within the community.
“It has been tough and a lot of us still face some big challenges given the trade that we have lost, but there is also some positive news right now.”
She added: “The consistent theme is that most businesses are being cautious and taking the issue of social distancing and customer -plus staff – safety very seriously.”
Celebrating opening its doors today, Monday, June 15, is the rebranded Lou La Belle ladies fashion store, which is the first new unit to open in the refurbished Trinity House, in Trinity Square.
Trinity House owner Axminster Property said five of the planned eight shop and commercial units in the revamped building are either let or under negotiation.
Ian Styles, Axminster Property managing director, said: “I see this as a new start not just for Trinity House but for Axminster as a whole.
“I firmly believe the town will now pick up again and move on as a great place to shop. It really does have a lot going for it in all sorts of ways.”