One of Letchworth’s longest standing stores, David’s Bookshop, changed its business model before lockdown – and staff say its continuing success is a credit to the “incredible support of the community”.

David’s was established in 1963 by William Armitage and his brothers, and ten years later it moved to its current location.

It changed hands and became an employee-owned company earlier this year.

Managing director Kai Savage said: “David’s has long been central to the local community through its unique outlook and approach to retail.

“It has weathered aggressive competition from online and high street giants by retaining this sense of individuality and showcasing an eclectic range of products.

“2020 has been a roller coaster of a year. In mid-2013, when I became the children’s book buyer at David’s, I could not have predicted these events.

“I never had visions of a global pandemic that would isolate us for months and I had never heard of an employee-owned company.

“It was essential to Paul – the former owner – that whoever took over would retain the ‘David’s’ ethos.

“Almost as soon as we took over, the lockdown came and we had to shut the shop – the first time in its history that it has not traded.

“Since reopening, the restrictions and regulations have made this year one of the biggest challenges we have faced.

“Trying to learn our new roles with this going on has been extremely frustrating.

“We have been itching to get stuck in, yet instead feel restricted by the uncomfortable experience that is high street shopping right now.

“It could make for a very depressing story if it wasn’t for the incredible support that the local community have continued to provide.

“We have been inundated with offers of help and assurances that ‘we want to support our local shops rather than go online’.

“The café staff have taken the brunt of this pandemic. They have been working under capacity, with regulations placing a huge workload on their shoulders.

“The public has been lovely and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the belief and dedication you continue to give this local institution. We look forward to many more years providing our local community with the best service we can.”