A Nation of Shopkeepers: Furnish & Fettle | Living North

A Nation of Shopkeepers: Furnish & Fettle

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Furnish & Fettle
As Christmas approaches, we speak to Eleanor Goddard about creativity in lockdown and plans for the future

If this year has proved anything, it’s that it’s more important than ever to shop local and support our independent stores.

Furnish & Fettle is owned and run by husband and wife team Glyn and Eleanor Goddard who, since buying the James Brindley business in 2016, have developed Furnish & Fettle with their team – and creativity in lockdown has been a saving grace for them.

Although lockdown was initially a very stressful time for Eleanor, she made the most of her newly found spare time. ‘We had a much needed opportunity to refocus and start working on those things in the business that we could never normally find time for, such as implementing new systems and a new website,’ she says.

While Eleanor kept busy, many of us did too, and interior creativity began to bloom. Equally as popular as baking banana bread, home DIY projects became a go-to for many. ‘People started getting in touch wanting to buy paint and wallpaper, and then as time progressed, we started to offer online design consultations,’ explains Eleanor. ‘As the regulations relaxed a bit, we moved to private showroom appointments, which our customers really appreciated.’

There were plenty of positives that Eleanor got out of lockdown. ‘We are so fortunate that our industry is one of the few that has donewell out of this situation as people have spent so much time at home, they now recognise the value of making them spaces they want to spend time in,’ she says.

She’s most grateful for the continued support from her customers. ‘They genuinely seem to care how we are doing,’ she says. ‘I think that lockdown has meant that people have really appreciated the community that they live in. I also think that a lot of people feel safer staying local rather than venturing into city centres.’

Our local independents pride themselves on giving a personal service – and Furnish & Fettle is no different. ‘At a time when social interaction has become so much more precious, personal service has become so much more important,’ explains Eleanor. ‘I think that this situation has made us all realise the internet is great for some things, but for other things it’s so important to see the products in real life and have the personal service and expert experience that goes with it. No one does that better than independent traders.’

Christmas is the busiest time of the year in the showrooms, so Eleanor has had to think on her feet. ‘This year we have bought much less stock as, as another lockdown situation would be a disaster for us,’ she says. ‘We also can’t predict if our customers are planning to go allout with their Christmas decor to add some cheer after a difficult year, or if restrictions will mean less parties and gatherings and people just won’t bother so much. We are just hoping to keep going, and taking each day as it comes.’

Furnish & Fettle

High Street, Wetherby

Crescent Road, Harrogate

Railway Street, Pocklington

furnishandfettle.co.uk

QUICK QUESTIONS

Tell us what you’d usually do on Christmas Day.

Lots of preparation and cooking, going to the church in our village, family drinks and present opening, lunch – and then crashing out on the sofa in front of the fire.

Yorkshire puddings with Christmas dinner – yes or no?

NO!

What’s your favourite Christmas carol?

Once in Royal David’s City – I have very fond memories of my now teenage son singing the opening verse as a solo when he was little, and cute.

Best place in Yorkshire for a Boxing Day walk?

It’s got to be the North Yorkshire Moors, followed by lunch at The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge.

Published in: December 2020

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