Tonic for fashionistas

FOR dedicated followers of women’s fashion, Dress and Tonic is the place to visit.

In the two years since opening, it has become an integral part of the high street in Stalybridge.

Indeed, Dress and Tonic, located at 9 Melbourne Street, has built up a valued customer base keen to purchase well-known high street brands at clearance prices.

Owner Barbara Neary even has a regular visitor from Abu Dhabi.

Dress and Tonic in Stalybridge

She said: “The lady is from Stalybridge and comes home to visit family four times each year.

“As soon as she dumps her bags, her first stop is Dress and Tonic.”

After being shut for three months because of the Covid-19 lockdown, Dress and Tonic is back open and has welcomed back customers.

Barbara explained: “Many have been shielding and told me they have missed visiting us so much.

“One lady had been shielding between March and August and her first trip out was to us.

“I have had others saying they hoped we would survive because they would not know what to do if we weren’t here.

“When I get comments like that, it makes my day.”

Barbara added the reopening coincided with a heatwave so summer wear, dresses and casual, comfortable clothing has been in demand.

“Many have a lockdown belly. They have put on pounds, myself included, so want to buy new clothes,” she added.

Barbara, who used to own Smart Bargains further up Melbourne Street, is confident Dress and Tonic is here for the long haul.

She said: “It was difficult being shut for three months, especially as we don’t sell online.

“Getting the Government grant helped keep our heads above water and eased the pressure.

“My philosophy is that tomorrow is another day and it is a case of onwards and upwards.”

Barbara, once a market trader, believes it will take time to return to the pre-lockdown level of business but is confident things will improve.

“It doesn’t help when you turn on the television and people hear we are in recession. That makes then panic and reluctant to spend a penny,” she said.

Barbara, assisted by shop manager Debra Wilcocks and Saturday girl Sophie Heaney, is confident Dress and Tonic will not only survive but prosper in coming years.

The shop, previously Allwood Simpson chemists, underwent a six-month long renovation before a glittering opening in 2018 by actor Brooke Vincent who plays Sophie Webster in Coronation Street.

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