Boom or bust? New businesses share how they have coped with coronavirus
- Credit: Archant
In August we introduced you to five new business that had taken root during the first lockdown in Great Yarmouth.
Now as we enter 2021 we catch up with the people behind the enterprises to find out how they have weathered their first six months in a year that has been hard for everyone, but especially those who took the brave step of going into business during the coronavirus pandemic.
The shop selling sweets and drinks from across the world opened in the Craftmania premises keeping a reduced stock of craft items and acting as a click and collect hub.
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Manager Lisa Ellis said at the time it was an "uncertain" time to be opening.
However, despite the two lockdowns since she said she was confident of a good year to come once restrictions are eased.
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She said: "We're really pleased with how things have gone so far with for both our Candyworld shop and also our revamped Craftmania Essentials department.
"We are a specialist store which will take time to establish but so far feedback has been incredible and we are confident of a good year to come.
Meanwhile the beaches and cream online store, had been "incredibly busy."
"Although it hasn't been without its challenges with the lockdowns and reduced footfall in town, we've had some great feedback," she added.
Jayne's Avon shop
101 Regent Road
She was the landlady that barely touched a drop and now Jayne Davidson is the Avon lady who doesn’t wear make-up.
The mother-of-two had opened up in one of the new units where the bowling alley once was, selling Avon products and recruiting new reps to sell via the brochure door-to-door.
As a sales leader her main role was to find more people to join her team of representatives, who could hail from anywhere across the UK.
She said she had been thinking about taking on a shop for around four years and had finally taken the plunge, spotting the empty unit during a stroll.
At the time she described it as "a gamble".
Now, in January 2021 the non-essential shop is shut, but hoping to reopen in March.
Although Regent Road is broadly seasonal she had planned to open all year round but was able to still carry on her Avon rounds as a representative during the 2021 lockdown.
She said: "It was good while it was open.
"But I have to do what I am told and just get on with it. Hopefully the shop will be open in March and make a bit of money.
"I do not get frustrated. At the end of the day this is how it has got to be. The hardest thing is that you still have to pay the rent."
Coffee Ventura II
154 King Street
In August Luisa Ventura said she and her husband Juan were surprised at how well the business had taken off during a pandemic.
The cafe specialises in Portuguese sweet treats and Juan’s signature bake - a Portuguese version of a custard tart - was the stuff of legend, his wife said.
All the bread and cakes are freshly baked by the couple off site, at another premises in Yarmouth.
However, fast-forward six months and the cafe is only able to open for takeaway and times are hard.
Mrs Ventura said there were some good and bad days with some regular customers that called in every day.
"I cannot blame myself," she said. "I know there is a crisis and it is hard to keep going. But we do have some regular customers that come every day."
David Cardoso had taken the leap to open his own shop in a unit he had had his eye on for years.
The 21-year-old of Runham Vauxhall, said the former Junx clothing shop was in a prime position and a nice-looking shop that had always been a favourite of his.
Although it was a “very weird” time to open with all the restrictions and guidelines around trading he said the shop had got off to flying start since opening in July 4.
He said it was frustrating to start January 2021 with a closed sign on the shop door in line with restrictions but said that he was "very happy" with how the shop was trading when it was able to open.
In fact things had gone so well he was taking on his younger brother as an apprentice and looking for another senior barber to add to the staff.
He has also launched his own range of Billions products available via his Facebook page.
On the down side he had been unable to tap into much of the grant funding being offered because he didn't have a year of books and was concerned about what would happen when business rates, suspended during the pandemic, would be levied again - amounting to £850 a month for his small shop.
"Because of how well it has gone I just want to get hands on and in there. The main worrying thing is the business rates," he said.
38 Regent Street
Nowak Pawel said he was “full of positive energy” as he welcomed customers to his new gift and homeware store in the summer of 2020.
The 32-year-old was keen to fill a gap in the market with Bizarre Bizarre, Palmers, and Debenhams all shutting up shop.
With a range of candles, gifts, teacups, mugs, glasses and decorative signs and plaques he said it was early days and too soon to know quite what people wanted.
Hailing from Poland, Mr Pawel, said he loved living in Great Yarmouth.
However, as of January 11, 2021, the shop is empty of stock and a sign in the window announces a closing down sale.
Mr Pawel said it was a difficult time to open a business and that the November lockdown and then being in Tier 4 did not help.
"I had a big hope," he said. "I will move out from the unit and continue to sell online."
Mr Pawel has an ebay shop and a Facebook page.