A BALLOON shop owner who spent weeks worrying that he may never be able to reopen says the last month of business has been "very encouraging".

Dave Stanbridge owns Andover's Tip Top Balloons, which he runs with his wife Chrissy.

Like many non-essential businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Tip Top was forced to close for as a prolonged period.

"Every day we wondered if we would be able to reopen," he told the Advertiser.

"But the second extension to lockdown was seriously worrying and we did wonder what the future held for us, especially as the biggest chunk of our business is onsite event decor for weddings, parties and corporate promotions which have obviously all been cancelled.

"The worst thing was the uncertainty of how long lockdown would go on for. We had no income but invoices were still coming in."

On May 11, when restrictions were eased, they were able to resume deliveries.

But it was wasn't until June 15 when the physical shop in Union Street could be reopened.

Since then, Mr Stanbridge says business within the store has been brisk, with many of their previous customers already frequenting once more.

"We have also gained new customers too which is nice," he added.

"At the moment, footfall has actually increased which is very encouraging.

"There are many good things about reopening including greeting past and new customers, bringing the warmth back to the shop, and the obvious thing being able to start paying invoices again.

"Hopefully clients will start to book their Christmas and New Year parties soon and corporate clients will start to have promotions."

While some normalcy has returned, there is still a lot of work to be done at the balloon shop.

All his staff are still on furlough as they can't afford to bring them back just yet. But in the meantime, the business goes on, with the hope of attracting even more new customers.