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Easy Living Footwear steps in right direction after lockdown

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There were many Hunter businesses thrilled to re-open on Monday, following strict stay-at-home orders, but none more so than Easy Living Footwear.

The day after Newcastle was forced into lockdown in mid-August, Robyn McLennan and her team were due to start expansion renovations in the Junction Fair store.

However, thanks to the uncertainty surrounding tradesmen availability and materials, all their plans fell into a holding pattern until early September.

Now, it appears that wait has paid big dividends for the owners and shoppers alike.

“Our tradesmen have worked tirelessly over the past month to produce a wonderful new store, which is double the size,” Robyn said.

“That will allow customers to enjoy the luxury of a spacious premises but also an expanded style collection.

“The larger store enables extra space for social distancing, too, which is now more important than ever.”

Robyn admitted it had been difficult during the lockdown.

“Very tough and uncertain is how I’d describe it,” she said.

“Who’d have ever thought that we would not be able to open the stores for such a long time?

“Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time and money developing our online presence.

“And, even though it’s not the same as having our wonderful customers instore, they could at least receive their shoes directly to their front door.”

Robyn was quick to praise both levels of government for their respective efforts during the pandemic.

“I believe the NSW and Australian governments have done a great job supporting business throughout this really tough time,” she said.

“Last year we had JobKeeper and, this time, JobSaver and the Disaster Payment schedule.

“This enabled some form of income for both employers and employees.

“These are unprecedented times; everyone was developing and learning on the run.

“But, now, with the Roadmap to Recovery, we can see a light at the end of what sometimes was a really dark tunnel.

“It’s still a learning curve for both the government and the community.

“So, let’s take each day as it comes and hope the COVID-19 cases remain stable.

“I think we all need to accept that the virus is here to stay and we need to learn to live with it.”

Easy Living Footwear opened its doors in Junction Fair five years ago.

And, while it’s been a rollercoaster ride, Robyn’s found it very rewarding and exciting as well.

“Easy Living Footwear was born two decades ago,” she explained.

“Over the years, we kept being asked by customers within the Newcastle area ‘Why can’t we have an Easy Living store?’

“Our concept is not suited to a large shopping centre, so it took some time to find the right location.

“However, five years ago, we finally took the plunge and opened in Junction Fair.

“That location offers an intimate shopping experience.

“It was a really small store as we didn’t know if it would work.

“But, the support from everyone has continued to grow and it was time to give our loyal customers a little more space.

“I’d really like to thank them.

“I hope to see all our loyal customers soon.

“Plus, I can’t thank my dedicated staff enough either.

“During this tough time, they have continued to support us and see our vision for the future.

“So, pop in and say hi.”

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