‘Everything closed and that was our business down the drain’ - coffee supplier prepares for restart
- Credit: Casey Cooper-Fiske
A coffee business which began in a garage 21 years ago is preparing to restart after lockdown left it with little trade.
Calypso Coffee, which is now based on North Walsham’s industrial estate, supplying coffee along with coffee machines and maintenance, was hit by cafe, restaurant and pub closures on March 23.
Unlike his customers, owner Alan Wright was not eligible for a government grant, which left the company unable to insure its fleet of four vans, leaving Mr Wright to make deliveries in his personal car during lockdown.
He said: “Everything closed including cafes, pubs, hotels and restaurants, and that was our business down the drain.
“Since lockdown I’ve had one customer in Norwich who started up a month before lockdown, who couldn’t get any help, so he’s been doing takeaway and we’ve been helping him with deliveries. In one month I’ve sold one case of coffee.
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“I’ve been doing the deliveries myself as on March 23 my insurance company rang me up and said my fleet was due for renewal on April 1, so I said you can forget that because those wheels aren’t going to turn for the next three months, so all our vehicles have been taken off the road.”
At the start of lockdown Mr Wright had furloughed all of the company’s employees, however in readiness for the return of many catering businesses one engineer has already returned to work, as Mr Wright anticipates that many coffee machines may have issues after sitting idle during closure.
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He said: “We want to stand by our customers when they reopen, I didn’t want customers ringing up and saying there’s something wrong, I’ve just turned the machine on and there’s something wrong with it. So that’s why we bringing people back so they can just jump on the case and sort it out straight away.”
Mr Wright said the company “lost everything” due to lockdown, however the company was still in a good position for the restart, with many customers renewing rentals on their coffee machines in order to help the company through tough times.
He said he was really grateful to customers who had “taken pity on us and helped us out during tough times” and said he was now looking forward to brighter times as more cafes begin to reopen for takeaway.