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195-year-old menswear store embraces 21st technology

A Stafford menswear store, first established in 1825, is hoping to benefit from 21st Century technology after setting up an e-commerce site as part of a nationwide campaign to save local high streets.

Black’s Menswear, in Mill Street, signed up to Ourlocal.uk and launched a click and collect service after the first Covid-19 lockdown resulted in it having no income for three months.

Anton Sedgwick, director of the renowned shop that sells high-end brands such as Mac Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger and Bugatti, said he turned to Ourlocal.uk when his shop was allowed to reopen after the first lockdown was lifted.

Staffordshire-based Ourlocal.uk is an innovative company launched to design and deliver e-commerce websites for small businesses which aims to save our High Streets one shop at a time.

Anton found out about Ourlocal.uk through a friend of Russ James, one of the three businessmen behind the initiative. He was keen 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 in Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

“We’re quite a traditional shop but we have very loyal customers,” said Anton, who has worked at Black’s Menswear since 1986.

“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-under-Lyme shop too.”
Ourlocal.uk was launched by local entrepreneur Darren Nelson, 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.

Darren has also committed to covering all the subscription costs for the duration of the lockdown for any business that signed up for the service.

He 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.”

For more details about Black’s Menswear, visit: shop.blacksmenswear.com

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