But it’s not all bad news.
On the really positive side we have a brilliant BRAND NEW WEBSITE! Once Google finds us, we hope it will bring in loads more trade from all around the world, and from other planets. Please have a good browse, you are bound to find something that you never knew you needed – what about those ingenious wire twisting pliers!
The website was made partly possible with the help of the Government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), so credit where credit is due – thanks for that, just the ticket!
We were able to hang on to most of our staff thanks to the furlough scheme. Great news that it is being reinstated for November.
So, all would trundle along reasonably well if people didn’t keep throwing things at us!
The vultures are circling.
Let’s take a look at insurance. We always thought insurance is meant to be there to help during exceptional circumstances. We stupidly thought we were covered for the pandemic but I obviously need help with my English because I always thought:
“The Insurers shall indemnify You in respect of interruption of or interference with the Business during the Indemnity Period following any occurrence of a Notifiable Disease within a radius of 25 miles of the Premises”
…meant that we were insured against business interruption following any “occurrence of a notifiable disease within a radius of 25 miles of the premises.”
What a stupid idiot I must be because the insurers assure me we are NOT insured following any “occurrence of a notifiable disease within a radius of 25 miles of the premises”, despite lapping up our £6,000 annual premium!
Luckily, the High Court agrees with my interpretation, so what is going on?
The insurers think that because it is going to be very expensive for them to pay out, they will just ignore the plain English wording and the High Court verdict and hold on to their dosh. They obviously hope that the prolonged delay will cause as many companies as possible to go to the wall. That way they will not have to pay up to all the poor sods who needed the money urgently to survive – what a brilliant wheeze.
To add insult to injury, the insurers now want to put up our new premium on the basis that we have a claim on file – even though they are refusing to pay it. What a cheek!
Their problem is, Arthur Beale, the old sea dog is not going to give up on this one. We have got our teeth into it and will fight it all the way. Watch this space!
Then there are the Landlords about to swoop.
Arthur Beale have been trading from this area for about 500 years. We have been in the current building since it was built in the 19th century.
On 19th May we wrote to the Landlords asking for some concession in the rent to take into account of a 90% drop in footfall and a total lack of tourists. We never even received a reply from them! Instead on 8th October - four and a half months later - a Real Estate company specializing in Property Development contacted us saying they were acting on behalf of the Landlords. In the meantime, we are still forking out the full rent, which we can barely afford, and there has been no inkling of any assistance – instead, it looks like they too are hoping we go under, so they can develop the building!
And then there is the Council.
Probably best not to go there but last year’s totally inconsiderate timing to dig up all the paving outside the shop during November and December, operate deafening pneumatic drills all day long and cause general mayhem, didn’t exactly help our Christmas sales. The work then over ran by about 10 months and now that it is almost finished rumours are going around that the gas main needs replacing so it will all be dug up again!
It is a miracle that we are still trading, but sadly the future ahead looks like we are heading towards the Maelstrom.
Our only chance is to survive online and we really need every sale we can get to pull through this difficult time. As you soon can't make it to the shop to browse, please do try our BRAND NEW WEBSITE and buy just a little something – even if its just a bar of our wonderful wool fat soap.
Who knows you might be tempted to do all your Christmas Shopping there too?