How are you? This isn’t as hollow question, just to get you engaged with the post. We miss you! The support that we have received from customers (new and longstanding) has been heartwarming and a relief, if I’m totally honest! Obviously, we miss the level of book sales, or at least, the bank account does. But more than that, we miss seeing our customers. Being part of the community in Brentwood has always felt like such a privilege, so not being able to have the daily chit chat is tough.
When the lockdown was first discussed I felt a horrible sense of impending doom. Those of you that have followed us for a while will already know that we have been through some ups and downs as a business. That’s often the journey of any business. We’d just got ourselves into a solid, what felt like a safe place and then, the rug was pulled from under everyone.
So, I had a sulk for a couple of days. I think that’s allowed, isn’t it? A little bit of a grump. And a fair amount of chocolate… Anyway, once I’d washed the melted chocolate off my chin, I started to plan. I love the list. It’s very satisfying. I often write things on the list that I’ve already completed, just so that I can check it with a quick tick. This list proved slightly more challenging, but equally, possibly more satisfying. Within a few days, our tuition centre migrated to online provision, as did our Book Club. We quickly added two weekly storytime sessions, which are live-streamed via our Facebook and Instagram pages. These have proved so popular, that post lockdown, they will continue to be a part of the services we offer.
There have been so many positives. I have learned how to use tech which I’d never even heard of – clearly I’m talking about Zoom. I can’t say that I’ve embraced the tech, but I have accepted it and can see the benefits. So much so, that we have two online author events already planned and more on the way. As I have said, we will continue to use Zoom et al after lockdown. It makes our events so much more accessible for those that may find it tricky to travel to the shop. And I am grateful for that.
We are now planning the transition phase. If the stats stack up, we may be able to open our doors this summer. What will that look like? I don’t have a definitive answer. It will involve masks, screens and hand sanitiser. But it will also involve, most importantly, smiles all around and a good old chat. When we do re-open, rest assured that we will do our best to keep you safe within Chicken and Frog. If you’d rather not visit, we will continue to provide a home delivery service.
Until then, stay safe 🙂