Paul Pedley, owner of Antiques & Interiors in Newark, believes that although there is concern about the potential for a second Covid-19 spike the trade is accustomed to dealing with change and uncertainty.
He has certainly adapted his business model and seen the success that has brought.
Pedley says: “When the pandemic escalated and we lost some of our tenants we took the decision, as did many other antiques businesses, to focus our efforts online.
“After a slow start, our website and other internet platforms including Love Antiques, Vinteriors and Instagram became busier and busier, so much so that towards the end of lockdown we were generating nearly as much in sales as if we were fully operational.
“All this positivity encouraged some of our tenants to expand and we attracted two new tenants, both of whom had recently closed their own shops and decided to sell through the centre rather than have the full-time commitment of their own premises.
“Justin Flint deals in the decorative and the unusual and Tracey Griffiths sells predominantly early oak and country furniture.”
Pedley says that business had been brisk since reopening. The first week back, “we were incredibly busy with returning customers and since then although visitor numbers are erratic sales have continued to be good, better than pre-lockdown”.
He added: “Onsite most of what we sell is good, functional antiques which also have a decorative quality.
For furniture, bookcases have had a recent resurgence. In our smalls department, jewellery and ceramics are consistently popular.”
Regarding the pattern of online sales, Pedley says although previously the best internet sellers were Mid-century and retro furniture, much of this is now selling to established trade customers before it has the opportunity to make it online.
“We try to ensure a good representation of modern design on our internet platforms because this is such an important way to engage a younger demographic,” he added. “Interest and sales in traditional antiques is growing as established antiques enthusiasts become more comfortable buying online.”
Pedley’s final message is one of hope.
“Things have been much, much better than we could possibly have expected at the start of pandemic. Although the current crisis is deeper and more serious than almost any other in living memory I feel that we as a business and an industry are in a good position to get through it.”