Small businesses are the backbone of any local economy, and the success of these enterprises rests in the hands of their owners.
Meet Alice Rendell, owner of Edgcumbes, a family-run business that started out roasting coffee and blending teas in West Sussex, UK. Despite the obstacles that came with the Covid-19 pandemic, Alice and her husband Chris were able to pivot their business and achieve success with the support of Inspiration Space mentor, Nigel Scarfe.
IS: Can you tell us a little bit about your business, Edgcumbes, and how it got its start?
Alice: Edgcumbes is a family business that was established 40 years ago by my father-in-law, who was a tea trader in Calcutta for several years. Prior to the pandemic, my husband Chris and I had already begun expanding the business with the help of Inspiration Space and our mentor, Nigel Scarfe. He suggested converting redundant farm buildings into a cafe and increasing our online sales, which led to dynamic growth.
IS: How did the Covid-19 pandemic impact your business and what changes did you make to adapt?
The pandemic hit us hard, as 70% of our business disappeared overnight. However, our customers urged us to stay open, so we converted the cafe into a window business and focused on increasing our online sales.
We invested in a new website and started selling a wider range of products, including locally produced food items. These changes allowed us to continue serving our customers and achieve growth despite the pandemic.
IS: How has the support of Inspiration Space and Nigel Scarfe contribute to your success?
Nigel has been an invaluable resource for Chris and me. He provided guidance and support in identifying opportunities for growth and brought in additional expertise, such as a financial expert, to ensure informed decision-making.
His support was instrumental in helping Edgcumbes adapt and succeed during the pandemic.
IS: How do you feel about the future of small, locally-run businesses like Edgcumbes?
I'm optimistic about the future of small, locally-run businesses. The pandemic showed that people are willing to support and shop locally, and small businesses are able to adapt and pivot quickly in changing circumstances. With support and guidance, entrepreneurs don't have to navigate difficult situations alone, which can save them time and energy.
"Inspiration Space has been a valuable resource for our business, Edgecomb. Nigel’s guidance and support have helped us achieve dynamic growth and navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. I highly recommend them as mentors and advisors for small business owners looking to succeed." - Alice Rendell, owner of Edgcumbes.
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