Easter has always signalled the start of our preparation for the warmer summer months. Logs and kindling are replaced by BBQ charcoal; parsnips and swedes make way for a bigger range of salad products; and bags of ice and ice poles take over our backup freezer space from the frozen ready meals.
It's all quite uplifting, almost like packing for a summer break, in total contrast to October when we do the exact opposite as we prepare for the winter.
I am going to put more effort into our BBQ range this year, because I think it's likely that people will be staying at home more and the BBQ is a really cheap way of enjoying a summer's day with friends and family. The falling pound should mean fewer people will be going overseas this year, which in turn should keep a lot more cash within the local economy.
As a seaside trader I'm hopeful of an uplift in sales resulting from an influx of visitors to the area. It will be interesting to compare my news delivery holiday stops year-on-year, to see if fewer customers are going away.
Unfortunately, the lighter evenings do bring problems of their own for us and other traders. Local youngsters tend to be out later and are more likely to hang around making a nuisance of themselves. I have always had a CCTV outside the shop to keep an eye on them, but the best deterrent is barring them if they play up. Usually you only have to bar one for the rest to get the message.
Weekends can be very hard to cover in the summer, because of course more staff book them off for breaks, family commitments, weddings and so on, and I always experience a higher incidence of absence through sickness, generally at short notice and on the sunnier days. I'm still not sure after all these years what the connection is!