Every one of The Arch Company’s tenants was affected by lockdown. Across our diverse estate, businesses were impacted in many different ways. Some were allowed to continue providing ‘essential services’, others had no choice but to close.
Now that lockdown has lifted, businesses across our estate are re-emerging into a world where they need to adjust to new ways of working, different market conditions and changed customer behaviours. Here’s how three tenants are coping.
Craft cocktail company, One Point Eight Cocktails, was formed five years ago and operates from an arch on Tilbury Road in Leyton, London. Since the pandemic hit, they’ve had to completely change their business model. Founder Hayden Gale said: “This year we were planning to take our business to a new level, but then, splat, everything was gone overnight. We’ve had to pivot hard and rethink what we do. We’ve invested in a new canning production line and now we hope to produce our craft cocktails for the home market, instead of relying on supplying them to trade, like pubs and bars. We won’t hit the volumes we were previously, but with five years of knowledge and experience to tap into, we’re excited to bring our cocktails to people in shops, small cafes and in their homes.”
For Duncan Sime owner of bar and wine shop Kwas at Viaduct Street, Huddersfield, the lockdown completely transformed their business, with the shop becoming a grocery store. Reclassified as an essential service, they did not close, but were grateful for the rent relief that The Arch Company offered to help them through the period. Duncan said: “The rent relief helped massively. It was huge and we wouldn’t have been able to manage without it. The pandemic forced our hand. It made us completely rethink our business and we invested in a website, something we never had before, and put everything online. It’s opened up new revenue opportunities for us and we’re now offering a subscription service for our organic fruit and veg boxes and sourdough breads as well as our long-standing wine and cider products.”
Family-owned wine merchant, Connolly’s has two stores in the Midlands and a wine bar at Livery Street in Birmingham. Founder Chris Connolly said: “Principally we’re wine wholesalers, supplying restaurants and bars in the Midlands. That’s been at a complete standstill for the past three months. When suddenly your income drops from a steady level over 40 years, and you lose 60 per cent, that’s not a sustainable situation. Without the help that we’ve had, including from The Arch Company, we would have had to look at how much longer we could survive.”
Connolly’s have now converted part of the bar into a deli to boost trade as it emerges from a difficult trading period. Chris said: “It has been a further expense, but I’m determined to keep something together. Those people who have tried to do something different will ultimately reap some benefit from it in the long term. We’re not all in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm.’