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Eastbourne Businesses and Coronavirus – How are they Coping?

Small businesses like ours have struggled since the coronavirus began. With some unable to continue trading, and others having to significantly adapt their approach – we were curious to hear how other Eastbourne businesses from different sectors were dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. We wanted to know what they had been up to, how they were feeling and how the experience had changed their mindset. Here’s what they said…

Katie Rogers Photography

“I’ve been building my wedding and brand photography business for just over two years – and 2020 was planned to be my first year as a full-time photographer. But with the wedding industry being one of the first to feel the immediate ramifications of Covid-19; couples soon began postponing their wedding days – and I suddenly found my income dwindling overnight.

It’s been a scary time financially, because with regards to help for the self-employed – I fall in to the cracks. I’ve been unable to claim because my business is under the three year tax return threshold and I can’t claim universal credit either because of my husbands income. So whilst I have no doubt it will all work out in the end, it’s still been a stressful and disappointing time to not qualify for any help.

My number 1 priority throughout all of this though has been to take care of my clients – because that’s really what I pride myself on. I can’t imagine how stressful and upsetting this has been for my wedding couples after such a lot of thought, care, and money had gone into planning their special day. It’s been my job to adapt to the situation, offer advice and just be there for them in whatever capacity I can.

But the silver linings are abundant. My clients have been fantastic, kind and understanding – and I have felt so much love from my friends in the industry. I am now more determined than ever to reach my goals and better the service I provide my clients. And above all, this whole thing has made me realise how lucky I am to keep my head above water, to stay healthy, positive, and keep doing what I do best; which is look after the people who trust me to photograph their special day. Many thanks.” ~ Katie Rogers


“The first thing that we did here at Cottons London when the news hit, was ring round all of our clients to make sure everyone was ok. We reassured them that we would be on top of Government announcements and would keep them up to date with the support that would be made available to them. We then did that via email each week, even drafting in the help of one of our clients to make the emails for us. In a nutshell, our role went from recording income, to helping them maintain what they had, take advantage of support and plan for the long term. Seeing the majority of them pull through means a great deal to us.” ~ Ross Stokes

DB Domestics

“We’re really lucky here at DB domestics, because unlike so many other Eastbourne businesses, we’re still trading and will come out of this OK. Obviously we have a very large physical store which we have had to close for the time being, which is a shame – but our online presence is strong and our white goods are deemed essential. March was absolutely crazy for freezer sales as you might imagine. Literally non-stop. With half of Eastbourne buying second freezers, I think we sold the most freezers in 35 years! It got to the point where we were like ‘enough now’! But we’re grateful for that time of course. I mean it’s definitely kept us tied over.

We had to furlough two-thirds of the company, which wasn’t easy to do – because our staff all wanted to carry on working. But we stay in touch. we’re like a family here; so that goes without saying. We have our WhatsApp group, where we chat most days. They’re all bored out of their minds at the moment – but still in good spirits. And they’re all looking forward to coming back, which is so nice to hear. We’re lucky to have such a great team.

Our skeleton delivery team are being extra diligent and are continuing to operate a high level of service. We are taking great care to abide by all the safety and distancing rules – but more importantly, we have been making sure to fast-track any elderly or vulnerable people at this time. Like if an elderly resident rings us panicking about losing their fresh goods due to being without a fridge/freezer, they can skip the queue. Or we’ll even do special deliveries in the evening.

This time has actually made me feel really lucky. Lucky for the staff that we have, and thankful for their resilience – their mucking in and coming together. You can really see peoples characters at times like these – and we’re surrounded by good ones.” ~ Tom Baxter.

Ringrose Business Finance

“I have to say in general that personally, I’ve been counting my blessings. I’m in a comfortable home, with a garden, no mortgage – and the wonderful Mrs S. So we’re doing OK. We’re still very much afloat. Business at Ringrose however is slow. Everyone’s applying for government loans at the moment, which is an absolute nightmare of course. I’ve personally heard of company directors waiting for 5-8 hours on the government helplines – and very few loans have been accepted so far. The system is under immense pressure, and it’s an incredibly stressful time for so many.

The situation we’re facing here of course at the moment is that finance companies are unlikely to lend to companies who are not trading profitably. But the breaking news for us now, is that one of our team is working directly with one of the large finance companies as a preferred broker and introducing businesses for the government-backed loans – which should be of real benefit for getting a fast-track for businesses that qualify.

So this is great news for us – because I love to be of service! I’m not just here to make money. I care. I’m more than happy to share knowledge and give advice when needed. And that’s really what I’ve turned my attention to during this outbreak. I’ve used my newsletter to give people advice on a range of situation-appropriate topics, such as how to get finance in a crisis – which has been shared on my social media. I’ve also made considerable efforts wherever possible to support our Eastbourne businesses. I very much look forward to seeing my favourites bounce back.  ” ~ Mark Smillie.

We hope you enjoyed our latest article about Eastbourne businesses and their response to coronavirus. A huge thank you to the local business owners who took the time out to share their experience. We hope you are as well as can be and we look forward to seeing you again at the salon. And to all the other Eastbourne businesses out there who are struggling; remember – this is not forever! XXX Eastbourne businesses