Just like all of you, the Covid-19 situation hit us like a wet bag of cement. It has changed everything, and we are still coming to terms with how Ewe & Ply will be affected.
Recently we took the heart-breaking decision to shut the Shrewsbury Market Hall shop for good. This has been a very hard decision to take, it's where we started, where we built up our amazing customer base, and where we met so many of you. We have had such a lot of customer support in this difficult time that we feel it is very important to let you all know how we came about that decision, and what we have planned next.
We didn't foresee the effect this situation would have on us or our beautiful business. We shut the Tearoom in Oswestry promptly, and then shut the shops early, just before the official shutdown. We stayed operating online sales, and that is running well, and we are grateful to everyone who has put an order in and thereby helped us to keep going. We post once a week to minimise our contact with the outside world (and to limit the Post Office staffs' contact with us) and we can offer a collection option so you can pick your order up instead of waiting for the post.
We did have to bring all the Shrewsbury stock over to Oswestry to enable us to manage the mail order properly. Having done that we thought we would then have a good opportunity to re-arrange the Shrewsbury units, well, you know how Teri likes to move things around.
Teri and I have been physically unaffected by the virus, we are healthy and have no underlying health problems, but Ewe & Ply is now more than just us two. As the business grew so has our team, and there are now four core members and one volunteer, all of whom are vital to keep two shops running. Now we are faced by the stark knowledge that three of our team are not able to return to work for the foreseeable future for Covid-19 related reasons.
Initially we decided we could manage, after all the Tearoom can't be opened again for some time, but then we had to look at the well-being of you, our lovely, loyal and supportive customers. How are we going to change the shops to encompass the very necessary social distancing measures? In Oswestry it is fairly straightforward. We can re-arrange the layout, put up screens and make whatever other arrangements seem appropriate. The Shrewsbury shop was more of an issue. There is no way we could introduce the proper distancing measures in our unit. We have asked the right questions of the market management, but no answers have been forthcoming. Without some sort of plan in place, the choice was to continue paying rent on a space we couldn't use, or retract for the time being.
We loved our little shop, but let's be honest, we had outgrown it, and we couldn't offer you the things you have been asking for, such as workshops, and let's face it, it was jolly chilly in winter. We are even now looking for new shop to house us. In the meantime we are working on popping up in Shrewsbury once a however often to bring you our brand of yarn shop, and keep the Ewe & Ply experience alive. Your suggestions are vital to make sure we get it right. Would you like a fortnightly local delivery? Or a pop-up shop somewhere? Do you know of a little shop for rent that might just be worth us looking at? Any ideas you have to help fill the gap before we find a new base will be warmly welcomed, after all, you helped us build it to begin with.
If you have any questions or have suggestions to make, please drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Becca and Teri.