SHOPPERS are steadily returning to Wrexham town centre - but the council and independent businesses are keen for more people to visit.

It's now more than three weeks since non-essential retailers have been able to open alongside hairdressers and barbers, and take-away food outlets.

On Friday, The National visited the centre to get a snapshot of the return of retail.

Shops are open for business in Wrexham

Shops are open for business in Wrexham

Wrexham's main thoroughfare of Regent Street leading into Hope Street was not as busy as in pre-pandemic days, but it seemed that shoppers were returning to the town centre.

Hairdressers and barbers all seemed busy, while people donning masks as they entered shops was a common and reassuring sight.

The longest queue outside a shop was within the Eagles Meadow shopping area. Unfortunately though this was people lining up to take pick up bargains in the last few days of the Debenhams closing down sale.

Many of the smaller independent retailers are located in Wrexham's four markets.

Again, the markets weren't as bustling as they have been in the past, with several traders saying there had been a dip in trade last week when pubs being able to open their outside eating areas coincided with a spell of sunny weather.

In Tŷ Pawb’s Market, several traders said initiatives by Wrexham Council such as the new click and collect free parking bays had helped their businesses.

They all said that sales through their websites and social media had become increasingly important during lockdowns, adding that it was an aspect of their businesses they would continue in the future.

Traders said they were hopeful for the future as they expected more people to become confidant in returning to the town centre once they had there second vaccine jab.

It was also thought that the return of indoor hospitality, scheduled for May 17, would attract more people into town.

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Siwan Jones, owner of Siop Siwan, said: " It is going to take time. For people coming back into town to shop after so long it is a bit of a shock. It will get better when people get into the different mindset of what is normal.

"So far it has been fairly quiet but I think when people are able to come in and sit in the food court it will help. I think it will also improve when Tŷ Pawb is able to hold events again."

She welcomed the new click and collect parking bays designated by the council this week. She said it meant customers could place an order on the shop's social media or by telephone before coming in to collect it.

Brendan Griffiths and Rhys Gilpin at House of Retro.

Brendan Griffiths and Rhys Gilpin at House of Retro.

"It's all one now," said Brendan Griffiths, of House of Retero, who said his business selling console games relied on people being able to check if an item was in stock online or by phone before coming into collect.

He added: "It has been good to see customers again."

Michelle Williams of Shabby Craft Box.

Michelle Williams of Shabby Craft Box.

Michelle Williams, of Shabby Craft Box, said people returning to Wrexham to shop wouldn't happen all at once.

She said: "I think particularly older people are still a bit frightened to come into town. I think a lot of people are waiting until they've had their second jab."

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Wrexham's markets opening times:

The Butchers Market is open 9am-4pm, Monday-Saturday (9am-1.30pm on Wednesdays).

The General Market is currently open 9am-4pm Monday-Saturday (closed on Wednesdays).

Wrexham’s weekly outdoor market is held every Monday throughout the year on Queens Square from 9am-4pm.

Tŷ Pawb’s Market and Food Court is open 10am-4pm, Monday to Saturday. Selected food court traders will be open until 6pm for take away.

Wrexham has several smaller shopping hubs within the town. One of them is Charles Street, with its planters overflowing with flowers, that seems like a high street from a smaller town. With a dental practice, barbers, Thai massage studio, independent shops, and the Magic Dragon Brewery Tap due to reopen on May 17, there is something for everyone.

Sioned Phillips and Sean Grantham of Igam Ogam.

Sioned Phillips and Sean Grantham of Igam Ogam.

Sean Grantham and Sioned Phillips relocated their Igam Ogam shop to Charles Street from its previous location in Overton Arcade during the second lockdown.

Since being able to reopen, business has been good. They, like others, have embraced having an online presence to support their shopfront.

Sean said: "The first week was great, we had a lot of people returning and a lot of new customers coming in as well. After the pubs were able to reopen we did notice a bit of a decrease but we expect once thing settle down again we'll see things return to normal and the town pick up again and be back to where it was."

 

What Wrexham Council is doing to encourage shoppers to return to town:

Click and collect parking bays

Shoppers can now take advantage of click and collect bays available on Holt Street (outside Tŷ Pawb) and High Street (outside the Butcher’s Market).

Shoppers can use the available bays for 30 minutes free parking to pick up any items they have pre-ordered from traders in the town centre.

The bays are conveniently located right next to Wrexham's three town centre markets.

A council spokesperson said: "So whether you’re picking up a take away, collecting a gift or just stocking up on some essentials, it’s now easier than ever to come and show your support for our local traders!"

Charles Street in Wrexham has a variety of businesses

Charles Street in Wrexham has a variety of businesses

Free parking after 11am

Another measure is free parking in all council operated town centre car parks (with the exception of Ty Pawb.This includes: Crescent Road, Guildhall Library, Market Street