We're all a bit fatigued after a full year of the Pandemic. There's been so much bad news everywhere we turn.
The team here at Drogheda Chamber have supported and celebrated the resilience, creativity and courage of our entrepreneurs over the last year. And now it's time to celebrate those that have been nimble in adapting to the changing situation. Those that have pivoted. That have used the lockdowns as opportunities to future fit and develop their businesses further.
Over the coming weeks we will interview some of these businesses and share some of the positivity and good news that we see.
This week we are talking with Turlach McKeown & Aoife Fogarty from Five Good Things at the Highlanes Gallery
Tell us about your pre pandemic Business status
T&A: We've been in business since 2018. We own the Plate & Palette Cafe in Dunshaughlin County Meath, and had then started out in Drogheda with a small Cafe in Beechgrove Terrace. This actually won a Chamber award as best Cafe. We'd been in talks about moving locations to the Highlanes Gallery just before lockdown, and signed our lease just a few days into it. We moved premises, refurbished the new place and opened there - all during the Pandemic!
What was the initial impact on your business & how did you react?
T&A: ·Of course - we shut the doors as soon as the first lockdown happened in both locations so we had no income coming in at all. We were able to partially open a month later after getting more covid ready. Business was slow to begin but we've built it up.
What changes did you make in order to cope or pivot / and to adapt to the situation?
T&A: Like many other businesses, we reduced staff, and focused on getting the business premises covid ready. We then introduced new systems such as click and collect with Q-Kangaroo, and delivery with Uber eats.
To drive on commercially - we started offering brunch boxes. Then date night boxes. We also reduced our menus. And to raise awareness - we ramped up on or social media. We also used the closures to redo the interiors of both the cafes.
What supports, grants, aids helped the most?
T&A: We have gotten a massive amount of help from joining Drogheda Chamber. We actually met Aoife & Stephen from the Highlanes at their awards night (before the Pandemic). It's also been great to be involved with the Tapit cashback scheme - This has been great in driving footfall and business to 5GT.
The available grants and subsidies have also helped of course /and we're in the process of getting a LEAN grant from our Local LEO.
Getting mentoring from Miriam Simon has also been a huge help.
How are you feeling about business as we begin to plan to emerge from the lockdowns, and as vaccinations roll out?
T&A: Very Positive. After a year of ups and downs we have found our feet and carved out new business. And we have learned so much in one year! It gave us time to really look at our products and dishes and make changes/ tweak and give the customer what they want.
Finally … What's your top piece of advice for other businesses?
TM: IT WILL NEVER BE PERFECT. Keep trying different things. Mistakes are great!
If you'd like to be featured in this series - We'd love to hear from you
@Drogheda & District Chamber.