How Hebburn florist Thanks a Bunch is hoping business will soon be blossoming

A Hebburn florist - who temporarily turned her shop into a community food bank - is looking forward to seeing her business bloom again.

Wendy Stead, who runs the award-winning Thanks a Bunch, on Station Road, Hebburn, is preparing to welcome her first customers back through the doors next week.

It comes as the Government confirmed that all non-essential retailers will be able to reopen from Monday, June 15, as long as they can comply with Covid-secure guidance.

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Shoppers urged to #SupportLocal as stores get ready to reopen
Thanks a Bunch in Hebburn before (right) and now with social distancing measures in place.

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The Gazette’s #SupportLocal campaign is urging everyone in the borough to get behind local businesses and help them survive as restrictions are eased and the economy slowly starts up again.

Throughout the lockdown, Wendy has been running a food bank from the shop, in order to support her elderly and vulnerable customers.

She has delivered hundreds of food packages and cooked of meals and afternoon teas for residents who have been isolated at home.

“A lot of our customers who come in regularly are elderly and we were really worried about them not being able to get out,” she said.

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Wendy turned the shop into a food bank during lockdown to help vulnerable residents.

“The businesses has taken a backseat but I wanted to do this for the community.”

Over the last few weeks she has also began offering a non-contact delivery service to cope with rising demand for funeral flowers due to coronavirus, saying she didn’t want to let her customers down.

From Monday, only one customer will be allowed in the shop at a time and signs clearly mark out where to stand in line with two-metre social distancing.

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Customer notice at Thanks a Bunch.

Hand sanitisers have been placed in the shop and staff will be wiping down all surfaces and handles after every customer.

“My main concern is keeping my staff safe,” said Wendy

“In our business you are likely to come into contact with people who have been around loved ones with coronavirus, so we have to take extra precautions.”

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Staff have access to PPE and will now be working in shifts so there is only two in the shop at any one time.

Customers have to sanitise their hands after handling the funeral and floral tribute books.

Wendy added: “I’m hoping we can bounce straight back, I’m lucky enough to have been able to keep my amazing staff and I know my customers are very loyal.”

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