Wedding rings to soft toys: what Suffolk bought first as shops reopened

Ipswich highstreet was swarming with people as the shops, hairdressers and pubs re-open today (April

Ipswich high street was swarming with people as the shops, hairdressers and pubs re-open today (April 12) - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Queues formed on high streets across Suffolk this morning as non-essential retailers opened their doors for the first time in four months; with shoppers heading out to buy leather shoes, soft toys and even a pair of wedding rings. 

Scores of people queued to enter Debenhams in Ipswich on Monday morning as the department store began huge closing down sales.

And in Bury St Edmunds people also flocked to the department store's last sale.

But what else were those shoppers keen to get their hands on?

Here is what a selection of independent retailers said were their first sales:

Beautiful Beers, St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds: Belgian beer glass

Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds have seen an uptick in sales and internet orders on the run up to Christmas. Pictured...

René van den Oort, owner of Beautiful Beers

René van den Oort said his first sale came at 10.20am — 40 minutes before he had even planned to open — as he had customers waiting outside.


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"It was a Corbeau beer glass," he said. "It's a very special glass. It's beautiful. It's got a stem in the shape of a raven."

The Italian Shirt Shop, St Peter's Street, Ipswich: soft leather shoes

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Antonio Bellini said his first customer had been window shopping outside the store a week before he opened.

He said: "Funnily enough, the man who bought the pair of shoes in the window, he was looking through my window when I was cleaning it about a week ago. So he'd already seen them in the window, the shoes that he desperately wanted."

Antonio Bellini, owner of The Italian Shirt Shop in Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Antonio Bellini, owner of the Italian Shirt Shop - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Andrews Jewellers, Buttermarket, Ipswich: a pair of wedding rings

Alan Greenwood, manager of Andrews jewellers at the Buttermarket, said the shop had been busy with sales, resizings and repairs.

"The first thing we sold this morning was two wedding rings," he said. "We had a couple come in. They hummed and harred, they went out. And then they came back again.

"That was our first sale this morning, which was lovely."

Mr Greenwood said the rings were a "substantial sale" and the shop had also been "inundated" with repairs and battery replacements.

John Andrews celebrates 50 years of his business Andrews Jewellers in Ipswich.Pictured are the sta

The staff of Andrews jewellers in 2020. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Coes, Norwich Road, Ipswich: running trainers

In a major change to its operations Coes department store announced that it would be opening six days a week as it re-opened.

Among the first sales it made on Monday were running shoes, said Fiona Coe, the store's marketing manager.

"One of the first things we sold was running trainers," she said.

"People have probably been holding off until we opened to the gait analysis machine and get some advice rather than just buy online."

But Mrs Coe said the store had a "really broad morning morning of sales".

"People are definitely coming in and topping up on things that they've missed out on or grown out of," she said.

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Fiona Coe, marketing manager at Coes - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The Parsley Pot, Abbeygate Street, Bury St Edmunds: a ragdoll

Suzanne Cooper, owner of the Abbeygate Street gift shop, said it had been "lovely" to reopen in person.

"The town is full of people wanting to shop," she said.

"We had a steady stream of customers, all age groups and all sorts of people. I think the first thing we sold was a ragdoll or some jelly cats, and a soft toy, to a grandma."

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