'Unpredictable' energy costs add strain to Yarmouth businesses

Sara Docwra and a thermostat.

The manager of a Great Yarmouth business said the rise in the cost of living is a worry. - Credit: Archant / Supplied

Rising energy costs are the biggest concern for Great Yarmouth businesses as the cost of living crisis continues.

Among the many companies facing a rise in bills is Effective Imaging.

The manager of Effective Imaging, based on South Denes Road, said how their energy bill skyrocketed from £120 a month to £700 over the last few weeks.

Effective Imaging business front

Effective Imaging on South Denes Road has been in business for six years and caters to many other businesses in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Supplied

The independent business creates vehicle graphics, engraving and printed and memorised clothing for large and small businesses alike.

In their six-years of operation, they have tried to maintain competitive with their prices and offer flexible credit plans to their clients in seasonal trades.

However, manager Sara Docwra, 46, said rising costs are forcing the company to operate differently.

Mrs Docwra said: "We always try to price things competitively. And we have offered fairly good credit terms in the past - so if a seasonal business wanted us to do something for Easter, we would usually hold off asking for payment until the summer - but now there's much more of a risk.

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"We're more wary as other businesses might not be around as long now.

"Our energy costs have gone up. We recently took over a new building and last week alone, energy companies charged us £700.

"It's a tiny little building and the previous bill was £120 for the month."

A homeowner turning down the temperature of a gas boiler in the face of the cost-of-living crisis

Rising energy costs are reported to be the biggest worry for many businesses in Great Yarmouth. - Credit: PA

Mrs Docwra said as the company sells a lot of clothing products, supplier costs are constantly changing - some as much as a 10pc increase. As a result, Mrs Docwra's company has to constantly review its own prices.

She said: "You don't want to be that supplier who's constantly putting their prices up, but sometimes you have to.

"We're having to think much more carefully now because there isn't as much money coming as there was. We're keeping our costs as trim as possible because we just don't know what the future holds."

Sara Dowra

Sara Docwra, manager for Effective Imaging, said she was still optimistic about the future despite current rising costs. - Credit: Supplied

Mrs Docwra said that despite the current unpredictability, she remains optimistic.

She added: "What I have found is that a lot of people are quite understanding.

"And a lot of our clients are investing in their businesses to make them better for their customers.

"I am confident we will come out of this. I don't think it's all doom and gloom.

"We're still very fortunate about what we do have.

"It is a worrying time, but we've got to pull together and try to get through it."

How is this affecting the town centre?

The town centre was said to have had a "really good Easter weekend". However smaller businesses in the heart of town  - particularly those in the catering sector - have reported to be feeling the squeeze from rising energy costs.

Great Yarmouth has the highest rate of coronavirus in Norfolk, Public Health England figrues show. P

Great Yarmouth has the highest rate of coronavirus in Norfolk, Public Health England figrues show. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN - Credit: Archant

Town Centre manager Jonathon Newman said: "The town had a really good Easter weekend. But rising costs is something that is in the back of people's minds. More so than ever.

"The forecast increases are so unprecedented, it's hard to predict what the impact will be overall.

"It's still early days and it is a worry to some businesses - with many not knowing how much their energy is going to cost until they get their next bill. But, businesses are reluctant to put their prices up too early to avoid putting customers off."

Mr Newman said businesses will be better able to predict prices as time goes on.

The Mercury has launched a Your Money Matters campaign

The Mercury has launched a Your Money Matters campaign - Credit: Archant

If the rise in cost of living is affecting you, get in touch by emailing anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk or call 074882 515 72.

You can also help us build a better picture of what is happening in the local area by filling out our survey on our website.