OPENING a high street retail business on the eve of a world pandemic century might not look like good timing. But that’s what Otley business-woman, Jo Lyons did.

Her shop, ‘Like Nana Did’, has not only survived the past 12 months – it’s positively flourishing. So much so it’s had to move to larger premises to accommodate an ever increasing range of products.

Situated on Market Street, just off Otley’s famous Market Square, ‘Like Nana Did’ stocks a range of dried goods including pasta, pulses, beans, cereals, nuts and dried fruit. In addition, customers can replenish washing up liquid, toilet cleaner, hand soap, shampoo and conditioner re-using existing containers. There’s also a range of bamboo toothbrushes and shaving equipment as well as glass jars and other types of containers.

“The pandemic helped put us on the map,” said Jo who, prior to her business start-up, was a university maths tutor. “When the first lockdown was announced I pretty rapidly had to rethink my original business model and create an online offering. We quickly gained traction because as a small, new and more nimble enterprise we were able to deliver to local people either same or next day. At the time, supermarkets were finding it really hard to meet demand and many didn’t have any slots at all. And, of course, as an essential retailer we’ve been open for business on the high street throughout.”

‘Like Nana Did’ also benefited from the lockdown home baking boom, earlier this year shifting 3.5 tonnes of flour, with customers travelling from the other side of Leeds to get their flour fix.

Jo’s inspiration for ‘Like Nana Did’ is environmental. Like so many people, she’d been shocked by the images of plastic waste accumulating across the globe.

“I remembered my days as a little girl when my Nana took me to her local refill shop to stock up on basics – without any of the packaging surrounding so much of today’s everyday goods. Jo estimates that her customers have prevented around 61,000 plastic items ending up in the dustbin.

Since opening Jo has also played a small part in tackling youth unemployment by giving two younger people part-time jobs.

“Our first year has been exceptional,” says Jo. “We’re looking forward to seeing where the next twelve months takes us. “