Sarah Wood, joint managing director of Trevor Mottram in Tunbridge Wells, winner of the Independent Cookshop of the Year in The Excellence in Housewares Awards 2020 looks at the year ahead:
“The big challenge for cookshops is going to be managing customer expectations as we juggle stock this year. We live in a push button world, and customers don’t always accept the fact that we don’t have something, and can’t get it in immediately (even if you point out the queues at Dover). It will take a long time for suppliers to build up stock levels again.”
Sarah continues: “When we reopen, we also need to be braced for the shoppers that think they walk past the hand sanitiser or not wear a mask, saying, “I’ve been vaccinated.” A few customers (thankfully not regulars) have been unreal over the past months (such as one who claimed it was a fake pandemic, or one who said wearing a mask was against their human rights!)”
Cookshops will also need “to be braced for price increases reflecting the increases in shopping costs as well as post Brexit tariffs,” observes Sarah. “While some people are gaining financially during the pandemic (if they are working from home and saving train fares), a lot of people have suffered financially and need to manage their spending carefully. We need to show that whatever we sell is well worth paying its price.”
*Sarah is one of the industry figures featured in State of the Nation 2021, in the next issue of Progressive Housewares magazine.
Above: Trevor Mottram’s Sarah Wood, pictured with an award at The Excellence in Housewares Awards 2017.