As businesses begin to cautiously reopen, they are working hard to make sure they comply with government guidance and keep their staff and customers safe. This is especially true for social enterprises, who often rely on the income of their shops to assist with community benefit costs. As organisations start to think about the next phase and reopening, many have concerns about reaching the end of their emergency COVID funding, and are aware that re–establishing these income streams is vital to their financial stability.
Kintyre Recycling Ltd, for instance, were just getting to a place where sales from their Reuse Hub were enough to cover monthly overhead costs when COVID hit and forced them to close their shop. They furloughed their staff and were able to get funding to cover overhead for a time via the Third Sector Enterprise Fund.
Prior to lockdown, with a view on increasing income, KRL have also been working with local distilleries to create higher-end, hand-crafted items reusing whiskey barrels. “There’s a real market there,” Amanda Thorburn, KRL’s Business Manager said, and she can bring her special needs employees back to work with this new focus of activity.
Still, the budget plans for the year have been turned upside down and being able to bring in income from the shop could help bring stability to the organisation. With this in mind, Amanda recently brought her staff back to work, so that they could take account of the new Coronavirus safety measures and plan for each of them. They’ve put in place a one-way floor plan system, are stocking up on PPE, protective shields and hand sanitizer, and putting up instructional posters.
The biggest hurdle however, Amanda says, is the 72-hour quarantine for all donations, as well as figuring out how to do home pick-ups and drop-offs without entering people’s homes. They will also need to have volunteers helping them maintain the limit of three people in the store at a time. Amanda has been relying heavily on the Revolve Store Coronavirus Guidance which she has found has been incredibly helpful, adding that there have been a lot of additional zoom calls and discussions that “have been really good and really informative.”
“I’m remaining positive,” Amanda said. “We’re only going to open when we are sure we can be safe and comply with guidance, but I think we will get there.”
Revolve has a series of PDF downloads and other resources for shops as they begin to reopen, which can be found here or at the link above.