Lockdowns have been particularly busy for The Kitchen Range in West Wickham, where owner Paul Geoghegan and manager Lucy Richards have been “very productive” in moving forwards with their new cookery school, which will open this year.
“Having this focus has got us through lockdown,” explains Lucy (who will become joint partner from next month. The Kitchen Range Cookery School will be situated above the shop, with a separate entrance. The retailer is currently creating a roof garden where the school’s participants will be able to wait before lessons, as well as providing a space to eat outside and grow herbs and vegetables.
“You can only get so much on the internet – you can’t get tactile, social experiences and people love experience led things,” states Lucy, emphasising: “I think the school will be very popular.”
The hunger for experiences will also benefit the shop’s reopening next month, in Lucy’s opinion, with people returning to high streets as consumer confidence starts to build up again.
A new wesbsite plus click and collect during selected weekday hours has made the shop’s figures better than during the first lockdown (when The Kitchen Range was busy with local deliveries) but Lucy recognises that there has been less government support this time. “We’re feeling the pinch now, but we’ll be ok –I’m feeling very positive.”
The shop has also invested in an upgraded epos system during lockdown 3, with new handheld devices enabling “our most in depth stock take ever,” reports Lucy.
As the shop gears up for reopening, Lucy states: “We’ll start ordering again from mid March, and we have a new window planned in the run up to April 12.”
Top: The Kitchen Range’s window in West Wickham’s high street announces the impending cookery school, which will open above the shop later this year, when it is possible for six people to come together indoors.