Cumnock shops breathed a sigh of relief this week as they welcomed customers back for the first time since March.

Local businesses were glad to get back to work but hope that people will shop locally post-lockdown.

Evelyn McBride and Janet Thom, owners of Mary’s Fabric Shop on Glaisnock Street, were delighted to be reunited with customers.

Evelyn said: “I’ve been busy sewing masks for nurses and care homes during lockdown. I was also quite surprised at the number of people interested in getting curtains done. We were doing one every day so it’s been really good.

“The masks have been selling well. In terms of safety measures, we’re upstairs so we’ve got a bell at the bottom of the stairs for people to ring for assistance. We’ve also got hand sanitiser, gloves and counter screens.

“Speaking to other business owners, we were all really apprehensive and worried about opening up but there wasn’t a barrage of people. People are still being careful when they’re in the town.”

Emma’s Boutique also reopened this week, but owner Emma McCulloch says lockdown has had a positive effect.

She said: “I got my website up and running to keep the business ticking over. Going online was always something I’d spoke about but never done but lockdown pushed me to do it. The website went live at the beginning of May and I’ve not looked back. We’ve delivered to Glasgow, Aberdeen and England.

“It was a successful two days opening but I’m still apprehensive. I like people to come into my shop and feel at ease. You don’t necessarily have to buy anything in my shop, it can just be for a chat, so I was worried I would need to be strict with people but it wasn’t like that.”

Emma added: “Small businesses were here when some of the big shops weren’t so I hope people support them. I think Cumnock people are loyal and do shop local where they can so it’s important to do that and keep money in the town.”