Helping businesses to thrive after lockdown
Barclays is helping thousands of UK businesses impacted by coronavirus to access the support they need and reimagine how they will continue to trade in a post-lockdown environment. We hear from a dry cleaning business, a vehicle parts business, and a restaurant about how this support has helped them to pivot and prepare for trading in a new landscape.
Keeping connected to customers
1 Stop Wash, an eco-friendly North London dry cleaning and laundry business has been serving the local community for almost two decades but was forced to close its doors at the start of lockdown. Rohit Dhillon, Head of Operations, said: “It’s been really tough for our family, especially as five of us work in the launderette along with two other employees.”
The business had relied on passing trade and word of mouth, as well as cleaning business clothing for customers who have since been working from home. As a result of lockdown, Dhillon began to reimagine the future and saw the benefit of moving the business online. Through securing a £50,000 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBIL) and utilising Barclays’ partnership with the neighbourhood app, Nextdoor, the laundrette has been able to improve its online presence.
Nextdoor and Barclays’ ‘Get Local’ scheme’ allows businesses to post free updates and connect with people in their local area in order to boost trade as the country exits lockdown. A week before reopening, Dhillon added 1 Stop Wash to Nextdoor’s directory, which let the neighbourhood know the launderette was open for business.
While the business used to help office workers from all over the UK get their suits cleaned, Dhillon recognised that he could now help his community maintain safe and hygienic households. So he launched a deal for local customers, advertising a promotion for home laundry, which over 78,000 people engaged with in just a few hours.
With the help of Barclays and its partnership with Nextdoor, 1 Stop Wash continues to expand its online network to ensure it can carry on delivering its outstanding service as the UK emerges from lockdown and customers adapt to new ways of working.
Moving into new premises
Trade Vehicle Parts, a Leicester-based supplier and distributor of accident repair parts, secured a commercial mortgage from Barclays six months ago – allowing the business to establish its first trading premises.
Co-founders Vladimir Asenov and Deyan Petrovski were in the process of relocating their stock when the country went into lockdown, making the move more difficult. Fortunately, their Barclays Business Manager, Amar Karia, was on hand to offer support through an overdraft increase to help meet the rising costs of moving – and mitigate the additional financial pressures during a difficult trading period.
The funds gave our business the breathing space it needed to start rethinking our business strategy and adapt to changing customer needs
Co-founder of Trade Vehicle Parts
Asenov and Petrovski also faced a sudden loss in sales because of the drop in demand for car parts, so Karia helped the business to secure a £200,000 CBIL in just a few weeks. “The funds gave our business the breathing space it needed to start rethinking our business strategy and adapt to changing customer needs,” Asenov explains. “Thanks to the help and support of our Barclays Business Manager, I have a positive outlook for the future.”
The loan has helped to fund training for a dedicated team focused on identifying the types of products that have seen an increase in demand because of lockdown restrictions. The business has now expanded its remit by offering items such as kitchen appliances and outdoor furniture – a strategy which has created a stronger business model. Karia says: “I’m delighted that the business has been able to successfully pivot, which stands it in good stead for the future.”
Fine dining delivered
Voted ‘Scottish Restaurant of the Year’ for the past two years, the closure of non-essential businesses in March had a catastrophic impact on the revenue of well-known Edinburgh seafood restaurant, Ondine.
We’re looking into how customers could order online, and working with Barclaycard to support online payments
Co-owner of Ondine
As a result, the business took advantage of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to initially help pay overheads and supply costs, and give owners Karin and Roy Brett the capacity to create an additional revenue stream through ‘Ondine at Home’, a three-course set menu with a bottle of wine available to takeaway.
With the support of their Barclays Relationship Director, Richie Paul, the pair are continuing with this new venture as lockdown restrictions ease. “We’re looking into how customers could order online, and working with Barclaycard to support online payments,” explains Karin Brett. “We’ll continue with ‘Ondine at Home’ for as long as there is demand for it. We realise a lot of people may be wary of visiting restaurants for some time to come.”
By continuing to offer a takeaway service, those cautious about visiting the newly reopened restaurant can still enjoy Ondine classics like baked diver scallops and langoustines from the comfort of their own home.
Barclays is continuing to work with small, medium and large businesses to understand how they have been affected by the pandemic and provide solutions that will help them beyond this difficult period.