With shops now open for business in England, many customers have rushed to help their local businesses. Over the lockdown period, many have also revamped. One of these businesses has been Best Days Vintage in Eld Lane, Colchester – which has been immensely missed by regulars throughout the pandemic.

Best Days Vintage managed to navigate through the first lockdown in March 2020 through online sales. However, during January, customers came less frequently after the Christmas rush, so the store relied on government grants. Without the power of social media, the company would not have been able to support its community.

Over the closure period, nevertheless, Best Days bought the building next door to expand. The building was due to become a fishmonger before they invested in it. They concluded that a ‘now or never’ approach was necessary, despite the pandemic. The new expansion has already been decorated and will host a free in-store counselling service from May 10th. The owners thought that it was an important service to introduce as their customers come in and share their stories.

What makes Best Days Vintage so remarkable is that it’s not just a vintage shop. Part of the store is a coffee shop where you can sit and have a chat, play games, or listen to music. This aspect of the business has essentially brought together Colchester as a community, especially Colchester’s youth. Tables can be found outside the building. Additionally, the owners Jez Dixon and Steve Hurdle set up the “Failed Rockstar Club” podcast. When talking to Jez, he said that the idea came from his and Steve’s failed band (his words, not mine). They wanted to create a space where anyone can share their passions; whether that be art, music, anything. Episodes have already included two Essex bands, The Verdicts and Greebo. Usually, they would also host gigs in the building.

Being a vintage store, the business is also incredibly sustainable. So, while you’re helping yourself, you’re also helping the environment. They sell their independent brand “YIFY”, alongside reworked pieces and vintage brands, to create an environmentally friendly clothing shop.

I asked, what one thing would you want your customers to get out of their visit, to which Jez Dixon replied, “To be happier with life than when you entered”.

Ultimately, the local business has become a safe, community-like space for the young and creative of Colchester – making it more than a retail outlet, but one of our town’s lifelines. Even on a podcast episode, the owners shared that “(their) whole business ethos is about being more than a shop or a company, it’s like being part of a community”.

Experience it for yourself and help your local businesses as we return to normal. Best Days Vintage is getting bigger and better.