Reflecting about what life has been like for us, since this unexpected and dreadful pandemic has hit our world, is something I think we’re probably all doing a bit of at the minute. It came as a huge shock and we’re yet to see how our towns will be affected, with many local businesses having to temporarily close. As you know, my wife Wendy and I run SYMPOSIUM coffee house and like to think of ourselves as pretty forward thinking and very positive owners. Our team is made up of as carefully chosen (and brilliant) individuals who work hard to reflect the very essence of our family-run business. But even with all this being said, it has proved to be very hard to navigate! We stayed open as long as it was safe to do so but following the Government’s guidance that cafes should close we decided to temporarily shut up shop, to give ourselves time to reconfigure our business to offer a new home delivery service. With a total of nine locations, it was pretty upsetting to watch as each team dismantled their stock and emptied their shelves but the support and messages from our fantastic customers, families and friends have really helped as face uncertain days. We are celebrating 15 years in business this month and can’t quite picture what the new ‘normal is going to look like for us and our business when all of this is over.
Most (if not all) of our contemporaries are in the same boat, and the responsibility of looking after our teams, the best we can, has been a huge worry. We are very pleased to have managed to keep all of our team members on (most now on furlough) and we’re very grateful for the government’s support with furlough payments. We have now managed to re-open in Peterhead, Fraserburgh & Ellon providing non-contact home deliveries (or Click & Collect for those out on essential tasks) and we REALLY appreciate the support that we have received to help us continue in business. Our online ordering system for our Signature SYMPOSIUM coffee blend (roasted in Peterhead) has also been used more as folk find themselves at home more which is great. For more info and to order please visit us at www.SYMPOSIUM.coffee/shop
What does the future hold for us? Who knows? We believe strongly in our mission to provide great coffee, great food & great service to our fabulous community and have managed to use this ‘downtime’ to reflect on our business (and ourselves!) How do we prepare to fully re-open after the restrictions are over? Slowly and surely. Of course, much will depend on how slowly or quickly the economy rises..but we are very hopeful that SYMPOSIUM coffee house and the other much loved independently run businesses in our communities will come out stronger on the other side!