A New Tyneside business has bucked the trend by reporting an increase in trade – directly as a result of lockdown.
As concerns grow for the future of British retail following the economic impact of Covid, The Aviary art gallery, at Jesmond, Brentwood, is busier now than it was pre-lockdown.
The gallery, at Brentwood Avenue, had only been open for three months before it – like businesses across the UK – had to shut its doors.
“And quite frankly we thought we could well be over before we had really begun,” said director, Trevor Read, “but since we re-opened in mid-June, we’ve exceeded even our most optimistic projections.”
Trevor puts the sudden boost in demand down to several factors – and all are lockdown related.
“Being told to stay at home and not to go out made us all look at our surroundings through new eyes,” he said. “And once lockdown was eased a lot of people wanted to shop for items for their home – particularly those that were now not just living but working there, too.”
Equally, the stamp duty holiday has not only given a boost to the housing market, “but we are feeling the knock-on effect,” said Trevor, “as people look for original art for their new homes.”
In addition, the furlough scheme meant a lot of people still had a proportionate income while many of their overheads decreased.
“A number of our post-lockdown customers said they were using the money they would have spent on a holiday to buy a unique piece of art instead – so they would have something to show for their ‘lost’ summer that might even turn out to be a good investment.”
A further factor, however, was a re-think by the gallery in terms of its layout. “We have remained entirely true to our original aim of selling only unique art,” said Trevor,
“but we’ve included a selection of one custom made sofas, bespoke chairs, vintage tables, antique artefacts and soft furnishings, because now more than ever people need a place where they can sit and just lose themselves in something beautiful.”
The Aviary’s current NE:BODY exhibition of works by established and emerging artists from across the North East launched on Wednesday 9 September and runs until Sunday 4 October. Visits on Sundays are by appointment only.
The gallery is also part of the Own Art scheme which means that – subject to passing a credit check – items can be bought over ten months on interest-free credit payments.
For more information visit www.aviaryart.co.uk