There’s no doubt coronavirus is having a significant impact on local business but with some creative thinking many are taking the opportunity to try new ways of working and connecting with their customers.
Popular hills restaurant Tin Pan Alley Foodsmiths have adapted to the rapidly changing situation and continues to trade with the support for the local community.
When they opened five years ago, it was a welcome addition to the Upwey community, with people queuing outside the door. Flash forward and the team are still trading, but in circumstances they never imagined.
Owner Kerrie said they really wanted the restaurant to be dine in only, but customer demand has seen them evolve, first to include take away and now home delivery.
“When we first opened our customers just kept asking for take away and we eventually gave in. At the time we were adamant we’d never offer delivery, but now it’s the only way we can survive”.
“We’ve had to adjust and retrain out staff, but it’s been working well and our customers are really happy.”
The delivery service has allowed them to retain the staff that have been with them since the beginning, something Kerrie is really proud of.
“These kids have been with us from the start. They were just kids working after school and now some have graduated university and are delivering the meals. We have a really loyal team”
It hasn’t been an easy few weeks for Kerrie, who is also leader of the Upwey Traders Association and a local volunteer.
“I just signed the lease on a new business “Rogue Bear This Way Collective” with my friend. It will be a public gallery space and cold pressed juice bar, but we’re unable to open due to the current restrictions. But thankfully Tin Pan Alley has been kept us going”.
She encouraged the community to work together during these challenging times.
“My husband has been helping others with the government funding. People are overwhelmed and don’t know what they are eligible for. They are considering shutting their doors forever and we just don’t want that for Upwey. We need these businesses to stay open,” Kerrie said.
Council’s Business team are working closely with local business, sharing information and advice. They are also continuing to offer Business Accelerator and ASBAS workshops have also moved online to support business with skill development and connection during this time.