Family-run firm facing tough times if visitor confidence remains low

PUBLISHED: 14:37 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:37 15 July 2020

Jonathan Miller (inset) managing director of Langham Glass. Pictures: Langham Glass

Jonathan Miller (inset) managing director of Langham Glass. Pictures: Langham Glass

Langham Glass

A tourist attraction which has been operating for more than 40 years has warned Norfolk could lose rafts of its hospitality businesses if consumer confidence does not improve.

Langham Glass, which is based in Fakenham, has said it is seeing half the number of visitors it was seeing this time last year.

For businesses which have been closed for months and are bringing people back off furlough the fall in revenue could spell for tricky times ahead.

Managing director Jonathan Miller said: “If people don’t come this year the fact is that there may not be as many attractions to come to next year – that’s the whole industry and not just Langham Glass.

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“It’s early days – we’ve only been open for just over a week and it’s getting better week on week - but I think confidence is still fairly low when it comes to people wanting to be out and about.”

Langham Glass not only makes handmade glass and runs demonstration courses, it also sells a range of glass items and has an on-site café.

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He said: “We’ve adapted how we run our demonstrations so we can observe social distancing, putting a grid formation on the floor of viewing areas for example so that people know where they need to stand.

“We’ve also looked at our glass-making experiences and are offering a limited number of those. None of the glass blowing experiences are on offer yet until we can work out how to do it safely for customers and for us.”

The visitor centre and shop remains a family-run business, having been established by master glassmaker Paul Miller in 1979.

It is now run by a team of 12 – including members of the Miller family – who are all been back from furlough.

Mr Miller added: “We just want to tell people who we are and what we do, and hopefully by sharing the changes we’ve made will give them some confidence to come and visit. That’s all businesses can really do to inspire customers to come back.

“In the coming weeks we’re looking forward to sharing with people what we care about, and seeing our regulars back in the café.”

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