Sheffield shop reveals how it’s now thriving after warning it could close due to coronavirus

A Sheffield-based craft shop which supports independent traders is surviving – and thriving – thanks to the help of the council’s small business support grants.

Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 10:37 am

Polka Dott, based on Ecclesfield High Street, would “definitely” have joined the growing list of businesses going bust had it not been for the scheme – which provides grants of £10,000 to help those in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors through the coronavirus pandemic – owner Emma Fowler admitted.

Emma opened the shop in March 2019 with her mum, Debra Travis. They support nine local independent crafters by selling the products they make in the shop and had just celebrated a successful first year of trading when they were forced to close.

After receiving support, Emma and Debra “transformed” their shop inside and out and redeveloped their website to boost online sales while the premises was shut.

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Emma Fowler (right) and her mum Debra Travis, who own Polka Dott, a craft shop in Ecclesfield. Photo credit @beckerrphotography.

Emma said: “It’s been great. We’ve since had lots of people coming in saying how lovely it looks.

"We’ve even had some shop-keepers coming from over the road and saying we’ve got shop wars now and they need to get theirs done up. It’s been really positive.”

The front of the shop has been refitted to create a new entrance as part of the changes.

Emma added: “It was awful when we came in and we made the best of it last year.

The inside of the shop has also been "refreshed", Emma said.

"We know a lot that didn’t manage to get the grant so we are lucky. Customers have been great, it’s like we’re giving something back by giving them something nice to come to.”