Shop Local: Joseph Barnes Wines says shopkeepers are the “lifeblood” of the town

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 November 2020

Joseph Barnes Wines. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA.

Joseph Barnes Wines. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA.


The boss of a Saffron Walden wine merchant says he is fortunate his shop can remain open during the new lockdown and feels sorry for businesses ordered to temporarily shut.

Charles Hardcastle, proprietor of Joseph Barnes WinesCharles Hardcastle, proprietor of Joseph Barnes Wines

Backing our Shop Local campaign, Charles Hardcastle, who has run Market Row-based Joseph Barnes Wines for the past 15 years, said shopkeepers are the “lifeblood” of any town.

He added: ““It’s vital that people support their local shops. People need to use the town centre as much as possible to make it a lively and buzzing place - local shopkeepers put so much back into the community and pay their taxes.”

Joseph Barnes Wines will keep its doors open throughout the current lockdown as it is classed as an essential business.

It will also offer an online delivery service including cases of selected wines, special Christmas cases, wine boxes and champagne.

Mr Hardcastle said the shop has been inundated with queries since the latest lockdown was announced, with many people ordering goods on its website in readiness for today’s start (November 5).

He added: “Although we specialise in interesting and unusual wines, we are not remotely posh as our bottles start at about £6.95.

“Basically our customers care about good food and wine and we always provide them with a warm welcome.”

The shop carefully follows Covid-19 regulations and hygiene protocols to do with mask wearing, hand sanitisers, wiping surfaces and hand washing.

Its driver Peter also wears gloves when making deliveries in his van.

Mr Hardcastle said Saffron Walden’s BID (Business Improvement District) group has been a great help in recent months, providing the shop with Ccoronavirus-related information material and stickers.

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“Adapting the shop to make it Covid secure has not been a huge cost or hassle for us”, he concluded.

“However, I feel really sorry for businesses that have put in a lot of time and effort to comply with the guidance in an attempt to remain open but now can’t.

“We are so fortunate to be able to stay open in the town centre during this very difficult period.”

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