Even those cookshops lucky enough to have escaped the rising water in areas affected by last month’s floods are finding that their businesses have been left far from unscathed.
Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire suffered particularly severe flooding, but Tewkesbury Cookshop, in the high street, remained just above water level. However, owner Tony Hayward told housewareslive.net that the shop had to close for a week nevertheless.
“Flash floods rose on July 20, and all the staff live outside town and consequently couldn’t get in. One of them had her home flooded anyway,” he said. “We managed to get back into Tewkesbury on the following Friday and opened for about four hours – and had two customers. We could have got in before but we decided it probably wasn’t worth it because everyone else was clearing up after the mess and people were staying away.
“Obviously we’re extremely relieved that we weren’t inundated in the shop,” he went on. But he reckons the flooding has cost him £5,000 to £6,000 in lost sales. “We’re covered for business interruption so we shall be claiming for that in due course,” he said.
“We’re used to floods in Tewkesbury and it’s pretty much a regular annual occurrence,” he added, “but they’ve never been as high as this before.”
He said that business had still not returned to its usual level. “It’s beginning to get back to normal, partly due to the fact that people are replacing things that got ruined in the flood – it’s an ill wind! But sales for August are still a little down due to the floods and the aftermath and the fact that we’ve lost a lot of the tourist trade,” he said.
Flooding also hit business badly at The Kitchen Cupboard, which trades in the high street in Ledbury, Herefordshire, although it also avoided being inundated.
“Ledbury did have a tremendous rush of water going down the high street,” said owner Sue Edwards, “but I don’t think there were any shops flooded. But it affected trade tremendously because, for one thing, we had to close early. And over the next days the only people in the town were those who couldn’t get out. People weren’t shopping, they were just panicking, buying food and trying to get home. It was just impossible, a waste of time.”
She said business had continued to be affected and that, as in Tewkesbury, the tourist trade had been hit. Some people are, though, coming in to buy replacement articles.
“I had a couple in on Saturday who had been flooded, and some of them are coming round checking on prices because they’re claiming on insurance. Some are buying things to tide them over,” she said.