Witham MP visits Tiptree Patisserie for discussion of post lockdown issues for small businesses
Tiptree Patisserie in Crittall Road, Witham hosted a visit from local MP Priti Patel on Friday (14thAugust). Priti called in for a tour of the premises and to talk to Managing Director Daren McGrath about his struggles throughout lockdown and in the weeks since it was eased.
Tiptree Patisserie caters for the non-domestic market and relies on orders from companies in the hospitality sector. As lockdown hit, 100% of their customers closed, virtually overnight. Moving swiftly to respond to this challenging new situation and without the support of grants due to the amount the company pays in rates, Daren and his team quickly diversified into home deliveries selling an afternoon tea package direct to the public. With money coming into the business from this new source, the Patisserie was able to work through the lockdown and maintain its obligations throughout. Nevertheless, they have had to lay off a number of staff due to the inevitable fall off of business, and it is currently running at a loss for the year.
After her visit, Priti said: “There is no doubt that small businesses are hurting in a very much changed economic environment, post-lockdown. There is a need for local authorities to adopt a more flexible approach in their dealings with small businesses and I will continue to press them to be more business friendly. Business owners need to be looking for new ways to diversify and expand their market share to compensate for lost revenue streams.
“None of this is easy but I do believe that by working together and with strong support for small businesses from local people, we can emerge from the pandemic and get the local and national economy working again.”
Daren McGrath, Managing Director of Tiptree Patisserie said: “I am grateful to Priti for taking the time to be here and listen to my experiences in trying to get this business going again after the lockdown. Our main market closed overnight, when restaurants, cafes and hotels stopped trading five months ago. It has been a struggle and it is important for those in Government to hear what life is like on the front line, which is why today’s meeting was so important.”
The visit was arranged in conjunction with the Witham Chamber of Commerce.