Businesses open as usual as South Shields shops and services help snow-hit customers

Cobbler Mark Dalton has been selling plenty of wellies to customers during the last few days.
Cobbler Mark Dalton has been selling plenty of wellies to customers during the last few days.

Traders are doing their bit to make sure their doors are open despite the tough weather conditions.

Owners and staff have battled through the snow to make sure businesses at the Nook in South Shields are open for businesses, while a member of the street cleaning team from South Tyneside Homes, has been out gritting the pavements in bitter conditions.

Prince Edward Road in South Shields was clear, but the side streets were still affected by snow.

Prince Edward Road in South Shields was clear, but the side streets were still affected by snow.

Among those to fight their way into work this morning was Mark Dalton - known as Mark the Cobbler - who runs The Nook Shoe Repairs.

Wellington boots, shovels, rock salt and sledges have been snapped up by his shoppers.

More sledges, ordered in anticipation of the snow, are on their way but are currently stuck in a postal depot in Gateshead waiting for delivery.

Mark fought his way through the snowy conditions back home to Fulwell in Sunderland last night, describing the roads as a "treacherous" and a "whiteout" on Sunderland Road near the New Ship pub, with abandoned cars making the journey difficult in places.

South Tyneside Homes staff have been out gritting the pavements at the Nook.

South Tyneside Homes staff have been out gritting the pavements at the Nook.

But he says he will continue to get into work to make sure he meets demand.

"I'm never shut, I'm always open, and when I set out this morning, I said to myself I bet someone will be in and sure enough, at 8.50am, there was someone waiting for me for a shoe repair," he said.

I'm happy because obviously in weather, when it's like this, I feel quite a lot of stuff you need, so we have sledges, snow shovels and boots.

"But it's also had a knock on affect, so because of the weather, an order is stuck at Parcel Force in Team Valley because it's closed.

Heather Robinson and Kim Pye, of VIP Grooming, with cocker spaniel Mya.

Heather Robinson and Kim Pye, of VIP Grooming, with cocker spaniel Mya.

"It's still been busy, it's been good for my business.

"I've still got lots to do.

"These are the kinds of things you can have in stock out the back for when it's needed and we always sell wellies for the festivals during the summer.

"I'm open from 9am to 5pm and demand has been off the scale.

Caffe Di Bella has been serving up lots of hot drinks and soup to customers.

Caffe Di Bella has been serving up lots of hot drinks and soup to customers.

"There's lot of snow, the schools are shut, people can't get to work, what else is there to do but go sledging on Cleadon Hills?"

Barbers Kerry Howlett and Rebecca Gray work at HelRAZORS, also in Prince Edward Road, and have been contacting customers with bookings, as well as taking appointments, with its diary helped by the use of the Booksy app.

Rebecca said: "A lot of staff are not going to make it in, but we don't have far to travel, me and Kerry, but it was up to us to make the decision whether to open or not, and we decided to come in."

Kerry added: "We closed a bit early yesterday, but Rebecca and I can walk in, so we're still here for appointments."

VIP Dog Grooming staff Kim Pye, Heather Robinson and Sarah McKenna were also ensuring those with four legs in need of a trim were still able to make their bookings.

Sarah said: "I want to say a thank you to the man who has been out gritting, he's done a great job and him and the others don't get enough praise."

In addition to grooming, the business has been doing a good trade in dog coats and harnesses, as well as flashing collars for owners taking their dog out during the night and early hours.

Kim said: "We all live locally, so it was only a short drive to work.

"Most of our clients live nearby too, or just live across the way, but some have ring to cancel and others we moved forward.#

"They still want to get their dogs done and groomed, so we'll be open for business, and we've had people in buying coats for their dogs because it has been so cold."

Caffe Di Bella, run by husband and wife Raffeele and Karry Mereu, has been serving up plenty of soup and hot drinks, especially hot chocolate, over the last few days.

Kerry said: "People have been coming in for take away coffees, but then deciding to stay instead.

"We've still had a steady number of people in."

A small number of shops and services in at the Nook are closed today.