A FORDINGBRIDGE business owner has spoken of the importance of the support of the local community as the town bounces back from lockdown.

Sharon Buckland runs The Dolls House Restaurant and Tearoom, which has moved to a bigger premises on High Street.

It reopened for inside hospitality on Monday, May 17 but it has been a slow start to trading with only two customers coming that evening, which Sharon hopes will change with the better weather and the holidaymakers during the summer.

“It is a lovely place once people get to know of it being open and people come out,” said Sharon.

“It is such a lovely atmosphere in here.”

She says it is a place where people can meet with friends and also get dressed up for an evening out.

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Sharon hopes to introduce a play for your lunch - where people are encourage to play the piano.

All the food is freshly cooked and prepared on-site with a full evening menu and traditional afternoon teas.

“I want to make this a place to come to,” added Sharon, who says people have mistaken the restaurant and tearoom for a card shop or a shop selling lights in the past.

The business had previously been based at the former Dolls House on Bridge Street before moving to a bigger premises and started trading in December, three weeks before the lockdown. It now has a terrace and also has an alcohol licence.

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When it initially reopened for outside hospitality Sharon says the business was hampered by the bad weather.

“To be honest it has been really hard even with the grants. It doesn’t last as you’ve still got bills to pay and need to pay the rent on the business and we’ve got to survive ourselves.

“It is so hard for absolutely everybody,” continued Sharon.

“People have just got to support their locals.”

She says while the bank holiday weekend was good trade just "dies in the evening" and that some days it is just not viable to open. She would like to see more done to encourage people into Fordingbridge especially during the evenings.