A popular menswear store which was established almost 200 years ago has launched an e-commerce site as part of a nationwide campaign to save local high streets.
Black’s Menswear, which has stores in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stafford, signed up to Ourlocal.uk and launched a click and collect service after its income froze as a result of the first lockdown.
Anton Sedgwick – director of the shop which sells high-end brands such as Mac Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger and Bugatti – turned to Ourlocal.uk when the 195-year-old business was allowed to re-open in the summer.
He wanted to add e-commerce to the shop’s existing website, to sell stock and save the jobs of the 11 staff who work across the two stores.
Anton, who has worked at Black’s Menswear since 1986, said: “We’re quite a traditional shop but we have very loyal customers. It’s like a big social club because we know each other by name and it is this environment that we have built our reputation on.
“It was a big step to decide to open an e-commerce site, but Ourlocal.uk has been brilliant at setting it up for us.
“It was no small undertaking because it had to integrate with our existing website, but we’re really pleased with the result.
“Although we don’t have all of our stock on the website there are a few select brands that we think would sell best online.
“It’s early days for us, so we’re starting out by offering a click and collect service from our Stafford shop first. If things go well, we may look at offering the same service from our Newcastle shop too.”
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Staffordshire-based Ourlocal.uk was set up by local entrepreneur Darren Nelson, from Penkridge, who recently sold highway maintenance business Carnell Support Services and joined forces with businessmen Russ James and Andi Elliott in an effort to save local businesses operating in high streets.
The company – which aims to ‘save our high streets one shop at a time’ – designs and delivers e-commerce websites for small businesses.
Darren, who has also committed to covering all the subscription costs for the duration of the lockdown for any business that signed up for the service, said: “Ourlocal.uk provides low-cost, e-commerce websites and it is coming to the rescue of many local businesses that are looking for ways to survive after an extraordinary few months of restrictions and lockdowns.
“It’s never been more important to support local businesses. These independents are part of the lifeblood of our retail communities and thousands of jobs depend on their survival.
“I’m pleased we are able to support an historic shop such as Black’s Menswear and hope this new venture into e-commerce opens a new chapter for the business.”