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Jeweller who opened Stratford shop just a week before lockdown optimistic about future

A South African businessman who opened a silver jewellery and leather handbag shop in Stratford’s town centre just a week before lockdown is optimistic about the future now the town is beginning to reopen.

Patrick Kavanagh, who came over from Cape Town to Stratford last year with his wife Shirley and sister-in-law Cheryl, opened All That Glitters on March 15.

Jeweller who opened Stratford shop just a week before lockdown optimistic about future

Attracted to the town by its consistently high footfall, numbers of tourists, and the surrounding countryside, Patrick was looking forward to starting a new chapter in his life.

But just a week later, the country was put into strict lockdown, meaning all the benefits of having a business in Stratford suddenly disappeared.

Patrick, 67, said: “We had wanted to move away from South Africa for a while as there was a lot of political instability, and a rapidly depreciating currency.

“Having researched online for places in the UK to live and having travelled around for a bit to have a look at different towns and cities, we decided to move to Stratford.

“The people here are lovely, and the links to Shakespeare always brought plenty of people into the town.

“We thought a jewellery store selling fairly inexpensive items would do quite well in Stratford, especially with the tourists. I have a background selling diamond and gold jewellery wholesale, so it’s something I have a lot of experience in.

“We were confident we’d do well – we thought only something really serious could stop us from being successful here. Then, of course, COVID-19 came along.”

During lockdown, Patrick applied to Stratford District Council for a grant to help All That Glitters’ finances while the coronavirus crisis was at its height. He was amazed at the level of support he received.

“I couldn’t believe how quickly it was all sorted out,” Patrick added.

“Back in South Africa, there is no way you would ever get help like that for a struggling business.

“Now I am optimistic that All That Glitters can carry on and reach the first 1,000 days of trading – which is the length of time it takes to really know how well a business is doing.”

Since reopening on June 15, Patrick is slowly starting to see things get back to normal as locals and tourists gradually venture back into the town.

He said: “Although we’ve had sporadic business during the week, we’ve had a few customers come in during the weekends. All of them have been very complimentary too.

“I think there’s still quite a few people who are a little bit afraid of venturing out and spending again, but I’m hopeful we’ll get more and more customers as time goes on.

“Without the grant though, I don’t think we’d be here. I really can’t thank the council enough for what they’ve done for us.”

Businesses are now being supported by Stratford District Council to promote the safe reopening of the High Streets in response to Covid-19 through the Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The project has received £116,036 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. 

The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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