Oh what a year! A year we may all want to forget but one we probably won’t for so many reasons.
We started the year in lockdown, so once again our doors were shut. All the staff were again at home and Neil and I were busy keeping the ship rolling, answering the phones, picking, packing and dispatching orders. Towards the end of January Ellie started working from home, updating and improving the website. George, our apprentice engineer, returned to the shop to continue his training and to help with the many machines that started to come in for servicing. Due to a high demand the service department was once again fully operational by February, with both Lee and George back at work.
Along with all the other retailers across the country we reopened our doors on 12th April, and weren’t we glad to do so! Initially we were only working a 4 day week – people were nervous about coming back into town and who wanted to use public transport?! Gradually more customers came to see us and we were able to gradually bring our staff back into the workplace.
We were in a conundrum, did we reopen our classroom? Would people want to come to classes? A decision was made: the classroom would stay closed for the summer with a plan to restart classes in September. We purchased screens and rearranged the tables so that people attending classes would be socially distanced and would feel safe. Finally in September we restarted our classes and we were delighted to welcome people back!
For the foreseeable future the screens and our covid classroom guidelines will remain in place. We will be adding new workshops in 2022, so do keep your eye on the website.
Another challenge we have had to overcome was stock, or more to the point the lack of it. Early on in the year it became apparent that sewing machines were in short supply due to a shortage of parts, but also a shortage of containers to move them around the world. Although this remains an issue, it has much improved.
A few staff changes have occurred during the year…
- We have taken on a customer service apprentice. Interviewed initially on zoom due to Covid isolation, Carys joined our team in August.
- Anna and Debbie have started supervisor apprenticeships, a steep learning curve!
- Jackie has become a grandma (congratulations Jackie!) so has reduced her hours and now works two days a week.
- Catherine is covering maternity leave at our alterations shop but will continue to teach overlocker classes in the New Year.
As the year draws to an end we would like to say a big THANK YOU to you all for your support (without it I might not be here writing this), and we very much look forward to seeing you next year!
Christmas Opening Hours
To give our staff a well-deserved break we will close at 2pm on Christmas Eve and reopen on Tuesday 4th January. Although the shop will be closed the webshop will remain open, any orders place will be processed as soon as we return.
Your Christmas Makes
We know you will all have been busy stitching your Christmas gifts – we’d love to see what you have been making, do send us your pics and we’ll share them in a future Blog!
So from everyone at Coles we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year! We look forward to seeing you all again in 2022.