Studley business owner is still a busy bee
A Studley coffee house owner, whose business has gone from strength-to-strength during the Coronavirus lockdown despite being closed for ten weeks, has revealed the secret to its success.
Mum-of-two Ella Clarke launched Bumbles Coffee House & Lifestyle on Alcester Road in Studley in November 2019 after a year of planning her vision for not just an eco-friendly coffee house, but a space where the community could host workshops and events.
However, just four months after opening, she had to close her doors as Coronavirus took hold of the country.
Fortunately, having attended a series of digital workshops focused on supporting retailers in January 2020 Ella was able to take on board advice, and continue to grow her business, even during lockdown.
The free workshops were delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and Stories Marketing, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme. The workshops shared insights into how businesses can use social media and other digital tools to drive traffic to their website.
Ella said: “When we had to close our doors for three months, we did the opposite online and ensured we were talking to our existing customers. Although we couldn’t offer a service, we posted conversational posts about what coffee people were missing for example, as well as competitions - and this proved to be really beneficial because we were doing this at a time when more people were at home and scrolling on their phones.
“Before we knew it, we had built up an extra 1,000 social media followers and had a strong community ready to access our new click and collect service when we eventually reopened. Now we are fully reopened these followers have become loyal customers, both click and collect and ‘eating in’.”
To meet demand, a series of new Digital Retail Skills Training sessions are to be held for retailers across the county on behalf of Warwickshire County Council through the Warwickshire Towns Network Programme.
The sessions are being offered as part of a £5 million package of support from Warwickshire County Council to boost the immediate economic recovery of the county.
The first of the Digital Retail Skills Training sessions was fully booked but throughout October and November there are a host of further online workshops and 1:1 support available to retailers in Warwickshire.
Leader of Warwickshire County Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Councillor Izzi Seccombe, stressed the importance of continuing to safely support businesses in town and village centres during these unprecedented times.
She said: “We have seen some real success stories since we started the programme in 2016, and also through the pandemic lockdown. In this climate of uncertainty, it’s wonderful to see small retailers and high street businesses embracing social media, changing the way they interact with customers and gaining new customers as they do so.
“Supporting this training is just a part of a package of help that the County Council is making available to businesses. Small businesses such as this are the lifeblood of the county and we will work with them to increase their resilience and adaptability so that they can continue to grow despite the crisis.”
Keely Hancox, from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “Businesses need to be making the most of online channels now more than ever to make up for the lost physical trade they would have normally received. The workshops are all about growing their business, and supporting them to trade online, whilst also using online methods to drive socially distanced footfall into their stores.”
For more details about the workshops, and to book a place, visit https://bit.ly/Warwickshire-Digital-Retail-Skills-Training
Caption: Ella Clarke from Bumbles Coffee House & Lifestyle