Fledgling store reopens in Newtownabbey after lockdown restrictions ease
An emerging Whiteabbey business has been reflecting on the impact of the pandemic crisis as it attempts to kickstart trade with restrictions easing.
Babylife, which only began operating in the Shore Road area a month before the UK entered lockdown, is now open again.
Detailing their experiences to date, owner Suzanne said: “My husband and I opened Babylife, a new pram and nursery store, in Whiteabbey on February 12. This is a new business for us both and we were so excited getting the business up and running so quick into the year. We had signed the lease on January 6 to be opened and running well for Spring.
“We have four employees, including my husband and I, and we all started at the end of January.
“Things did not go to plan! We were only opened four weeks when lockdown came and we closed on March 23. This came as a shock to us as the door was only opened so soon and we were just on the curve up for awareness of our brand and new store.”
Suzanne, who is a parent of three children aged nine, six and four, added: “The first three weeks were quiet and then I managed the social media pages and posts during lockdown and got small sales of items customers were needing. We delivered these out free of charge.
“During lockdown we have been building an e-commerce website to allow customers to be able to buy from us. In the first week of June we opened the store for appointments only, bookable via link: fb.com/book/BabylifeTeam/”
Commenting on the challenges facing Babylife during the current climate, she added: “We struggled to get the Small Business Grant. It took three weeks for rate ID to come through and then we applied for the grant on April 15, but only after help from our local MP, numerous calls and emails, we were awarded it on May 19. This has allowed us to be able to open the door again. We have not been able to receive the furlough for our four employees.
“We have had no guidance from anyone regarding lockdown, procedures for opening, dates for opening or anything else. Babylife is Ltd and was registered as company on December 5 2019.
“We are excited to be serving the Newtownabbey community and are happy to help in any way we can to make life special for the arrival of baby and as they progress into their toddler and early childhood years.”
The store is currently offering NHS staff a 10 per cent discount. This offer is running until June 30.
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