Shop Local: Independent Welwyn Garden City florists remain ‘quite positive’ despite coronavirus challenges
- Credit: Matt Powell
A Welwyn Garden City florist has described how he and his wife have overcome the challenges their business faced from coronavirus and what the future may hold for them.
“The start of it was obviously a bit scary, we didn’t know how it would pan out, we didn’t know wether the supply line was going to be consistent from Holland,” said Paul, who runs Lambert’s Flower Company with his wife Nicola. “We were concerned borders were going to close down.
“But it just worked, very quickly we realised when lockdown happened at the end of March that we could still operate.”
They had their landlines forwarded to their mobiles and the work was ‘pretty much non-stop’, and being a husband and wife team allowed them to continue working safely.
He said: “The doors were shut, but we have a website and we got lots of orders through the telephone. It stayed fairly consistent.
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“When the doors opened, the first few weeks were not so busy.”
Now the weekdays are “steady but not busy”, but Saturdays are almost like “going back in time to what it used to be”.
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However a good portion of the store’s income traditionally comes from flowers for weddings, of which there has been significantly fewer than previous years.
Paul described the “huge sort of chasm” that the lack of weddings caused, saying: “It’s like falling off the edge of a cliff really.
“We’ve done a couple of small to medium weddings, but generally speaking we’ve lost a lot of sales.”
However Paul and Nicola are looking forward to next year, as it is set to be busier due to couples moving their weddings forward.
But Paul acknowledges “We don’t know how long this is going to go on for.”
To help secure customers they’ve made the decision to introduce flexible bookings – in case couples have to move their weddings due to coronavirus, as they said “It’s how we would want to be treated”.
Looking to the future the couple remain quietly positive, and believe they could continue operating their business if a second lockdown occurred or “have a two-week holiday” if they were unable to.
Overall Paul said there has been about a 20 per cent drop in customers this year: “It’s not drastic. We’ve managed to stay steady and tread water.
“We remain quite positive. Ultimately I think you’ve got to have that mindset in business if you can. I realise there are some sectors where that’s very difficult at the moment, but Nicola and I are positive for the future.