‘Great support’ from locals for independent bookshop during Covid-19 pandemic

“Great support” from local people has been the key to Topping & Company Booksellers’ staying afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stuart Havis, manager, said that while lockdown itself was “tough because we closed for 10 weeks”, since re-opening they have been “very lucky to have been supported so well”.

As a way of adapting to its impact, Topping began offering collections on the door for a couple of weeks and then re-opened to the public in mid-June.

“From then on, it’s been – touch wood – okay; it’s difficult to know what okay is, but I think we’ve got great supporters and they have supported us very well since we’ve re-opened.

“I think we’ve been very lucky in that sense.”

As well as being an independent bookshop, Topping would – pre-Covid-19- run an extensive events programme, including book signings and meet the author events.

“That whole events programme has disappeared so we’ll never be able to regain that gaping hole, but the actual bookshop has been supported well”.

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Mr Havis added that, “without the support that the government set up, many businesses - maybe even including us - would have gone under”.

And with Ely remaining full of independent businesses, he thinks “there is a desire to keep them going, it’s just that we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.

“If this goes on for years and years, being in and out of lockdown... I think it’s made people realise that they need to use it or lose it”.