Emmaus Bolton has welcomed back supporters after the COVID-19 shutdown and has seen record-breaking sales since reopening.
The newly refurbished Derby Barracks charity store reopened on Monday 15 June after a 13-week closure. During the first four weeks of opening, the store achieved record sales and a large number of donations of furniture and household items.
Emmaus Bolton temporarily suspended all retail operations in March to ensure the safety of its residents, staff, volunteers, customers and the local community. With new safety measures in place and supporters visiting again, Emmaus Bolton is confident that it will recoup some of the income lost over the shutdown period.
Brett is one of the people supported by Emmaus Bolton and who works in the Derby Barracks charity store. Brett said: “It was great to see so many of our old customers returning and asking how we are. Many of our customers come every week and are not just customers but friends. They all loved the refurbished shop.”
Emmaus Bolton provides a home, meaningful work, training and support to people who have experienced homelessness or social exclusion. The majority of funds needed to support the charity’s work are generated by selling second-hand furniture, kitchen appliances, household goods, plants and clothing in its social enterprise.
Tony Stephenson, Director of Emmaus Bolton, said: “Having been in lockdown for 3 months, we expected that people would be slow to return to our store at the Derby Barracks but that was not the case. On the first day we received 170 phone calls from people wanting to donate items or checking to see if we were open.
“It was lovely to see lots of familiar customers, and plenty of new ones visit the shop. Our first week of opening was a record sales week and the weeks since have all remained better than before lockdown. Even though it has been busy, all of our COVID-19 precautions are working well. Everyone is sanitising their hands when they enter, observing social distancing and the one-way system.”
Throughout the shutdown period, Emmaus Bolton continued to sell items online, refurbished the store and operated its Lucie’s Pantry social supermarket. The pantry is run by local volunteers and supports more than 300 vulnerable households by providing food and essential items.