News and Views

Flexible Furloughing, Bounce Back Loans, Reopening and Pivoting

It’s been a while since I’ve written. so I thought it might be time to remind you about a couple of things…

Flexible Furloughing starts from tomorrow, 1 July 2020, meaning that you can start to bring employees back from furlough on part time hours. Be careful in your record keeping and calculations though, as it’s not quite as straightforward as one might think. More on this by separate note.

It’s also a good time to think about investing in growth as the market and opportunities start to open up again. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of a Business Bounce Back Loan, now might be the time to consider it. It really is the cheapest money you are likely to see. But, as always, remember that a loan is a loan and must be paid back, so it will pay to be strategic about it. You have until 4 November to arrange a loan under this scheme, so please feel free to speak with Andy or myself if you would like to explore this in more depth.

For those businesses based in Stockport, who have not yet been able to take advantage of any grant funding, the local authority has just announced a third phase of their Discretionary Grant Funding. The deadline for submitting your applications is Wednesday 8 July 2020 and full details can be found here: 

But for now, let’s share some good news and spread the love a little…

I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce you to a few of our clients who are back up and running since the easing of lockdown, or in some cases who have been trading well throughout. And also to some who have had to ‘pivot’ to survive these challenging times.

This week we look at Coldchoice Foods, Blue Tree Interiors and Hollands Country Clothing.

Next time I will be introducing you to the crazy cats at The Funky Monkey Coffee Company (honestly, if you haven’t yet seen one of Heather’s Facebook lives, you really must tune in for a giggle – she’s brilliant!), as well as Sue and Inness from Instilled to hear about what they have been up to during lockdown. Please let me know if you would like to be featured and I will plan it in.

Remember, if you would like more details on any of the business support available to you by the various Government schemes, you can find all previous articles on our home page:

Any questions, you know where to find me! Best wishes as always,
Sarah x

PS Speaking of ‘Pivoting’, the IN Team are taking part in a virtual wine tasting this evening as a big thank you to the team who have been working so hard, and a bit of a social as all work and no play etc… so no calls toooo early tomorrow please ????????
Coldchoice Foods 

The team at Coldchoice Foods have been supplying the retail and catering trade for almost 60 years, most recently from their premises on Newby Road Industrial Estate. With  Restaurants and Pubs making up around 50% of their client base you can imagine the challenge they faced when the Government announced the lockdown on 23 March this year.

Not to be outdone Alan, along with his sons Alan and Barry, quickly ‘pivoted’ the business and started selling their restaurant quality products directly to consumers, initially from their small retail area on site. They have since developed their offer, selling the most magnificent BBQ hampers, meat boxes, vegetable boxes and even cupcakes, delivered directly to you at home.  And it’s not just meat… eggs, butter, cheese, burger buns, I’ve even picked up some vegan black pudding!!

If you’d like to know more, or see if you’re up for their 32 oz T-Bone steak challenge (so far we’ve sampled the fillet, ribeye and rump which are all exceptional), check them out on Facebook (link below), or pop in for a visit – you are guaranteed a warm welcome! 

Hollands Country Clothing

Finally for today, I must mention the team at Hollands Country Clothing. Matthew Holland and team have been investing in their online business as well as their warehousing and distribution over the last couple of years, but thankfully always with one eye firmly on cashflow management.

When faced with lockdown, sales initially plummeted and Matthew’s sister and Co-Director Sarah, a qualified nurse, was one of the first to volunteer to help the NHS. The slump however was short lived, and the team’s investment in both product ranges and service levels have paid off. As an agile, consumer focused business, they continue to read and adapt to market trends and needs, expanding from a pure farming and country lifestyle retailer into outdoor ranges and seeing the resurgence of Dr Marten’s coming long before we did… One to watch

Oh, and having checked out the website while writing this article, I see that it is The Big Summer Sale at Hollands Country Clothing Limited… it would be almost rude not to…

Blue Tree Home Furniture & Gifts

Another client closed by lockdown, Helen was not to be outdone. Once her ‘non essential’ shop was closed down in March, owner Helen got busy working behind the scenes (as well as homeschooling two teenagers!!)

Helen had always wanted to bring her retail business more online to be able to service more customers with her fabulous range of products for around the home, but had simply never found the time to do so. So, she used her downtime to do just this!

The range of products Helen has in stock is just fabulous, and if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for she is often able to source a unique piece for you.

The store is now back open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday at 35 Queensway, Poynton, Stockport SK12 1JG, and I know she would love you to pop in and visit.

If you can’t make it to Poynton, or aren’t quite there yet with wanting to go out to the shops, you can find her on Instagram – @bluetreehome  or look her up on Facebook

You won’t be disappointed, although your wallet may be a little lighter!!

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If this sounds like you, it seems you are not alone.

More and more people these days are selling online to boost their income, sometimes just for a bit of fun and with no higher plans, and other times in the hopes of turning this so called side hustle into their dream job and their very first foray into entrepreneurship…

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