Welcome to the Sister Shout. A series of articles about our members and things that happen around Cheshire. In this issue of Sister Shout, we'll be chatting with Big Sister Sally who runs a very well established Chester business that's been around for around 20 years now. Currently based in the Forum, The Hair Shop used to be up on the rows in Watergate Street. about her business and how she's handled the Coronavirus crisis.
Tell us about how your business was doing just before lockdown started, were there any plans you had to put on hold?
Over the last three years all staff at the Deva Tap have worked very hard to build a reputation for good beers, ciders, wines and food. We all felt that at the end of January that we had turned a corner then Covid 19 Struck. As we were shut down within hours of the announcement on March 20 th we
instantly panicked how we were going to pay all those that relied on us i.e. wages had to be paid and also all the people who had supplied goods to us on a monthly payment scheme which would all be due within the following 4 weeks.
How did you cope with lockdown? The personal toll has been so very hard on many of us.
During the first week I managed luckily to be able to get an increased overdraft on my personal bank account. This enabled me to be able to pay staff wages. I applied for the grant for our premises and managed to get the local grant which was awarded to many other people with low rateable value properties. We then decided to get going and renovate the premises. Unfortunately for us the boiler packed in followed closely by the chiller. So once again the overdraft helped us out!
So thousands down still in lockdown the only thing that kept us going that we were determined to renovate the Tap and hopefully be able to make it a safe and comfortable environment for our customers when we were able to open. Our customers are coming back slowly and many have expressed their delight in what we have achieved over lockdown. We have installed hand sanitisers and our tables have been decreased to allow social distancing, we also have a one way system in place.
How are you handling the restrictions being lifted? Tell us about any changes you’ve made to your business.
The Deva Kitchen has had a revamp both in the kitchen and menu and we are getting fantastic feed back both in the Deva Tap and on Just Eat. We have employed our own driver for Just Eat as their service wasn’t good when they were delivering for us.
Overall I think we have come out off it better than most but the next few months will be crucial if we are to keep the Tap open and all the lovely people it employs Finances are really tight as we have had to employ more staff to be able to operate safely. I feel personally that the Government helped me by allowing us to put our employees on furlough which has allowed them to come back to work.
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Pop along to the Deva Tap - enjoy their lovely beer garden or have a look for their amazing burgers on Just Eat!