"In the first weeks we had to find ways to adapt and come up with new ways to sell our ice cream and that is exactly what we did."
A family-run Henley business has defied the Coronavirus economic odds and actually taken on new employees – thanks to the honesty of local people.
Henley Ice Cream was facing a bleak spring and summer when, like many other businesses, it had to close its doors and furlough staff with no positive business signs ahead.
But the High Street-based store came up with innovative ways of suppling ice cream to the public despite being closed. Now, it is operational once again and has had to add two members of the staff to the team to handle demand.
Emily Adams, Director of Henley Ice Cream, said it had been challenging for the business, but they are thrilled to have got through the past few months and welcome customers back to the store.
“In the first weeks we had to find ways to adapt and come up with new ways to sell our ice cream and that is exactly what we did.
“We literally parked one of our electric trikes filled with ice cream at the front of my parents’ house with an honesty box for people to pay and serve themselves.
“We made sure there was hand sanitiser available and followed cleaning guidelines and it has been a huge success and very positive with many people asking us to carry it on, so we could not be happier.
“Just like everyone else, it was an extremely uncertain time at the beginning and we had to close the store and furlough staff so I cannot thank people enough for their custom and their honesty,” said Emily.
The business, which was taken over by Emily’s parents Cindy and Steve Brittan in 1997, used the traditional ice cream trikes and it proved extremely popular.
A month ago, the store started trading again, although it is only takeaways as the coffee lounge and tea rooms remain closed at present.
But this has meant that four members of staff have been taken off furlough and two more have been hired.
“With so many stories out there of people losing their jobs, it is nice to say that we are taking on staff and they are people who are local to Henley as well,” added Emily.
“We will now continue to push forward with the business and welcome customers back and look to the future and what’s next for us.”
Businesses are being now supported by Stratford District Council to promote the safe reopening of the High Streets in response to Covid-19 through the Government’s Reopening High Streets Safely Fund which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
For further information about Henley Ice Cream visit www.henleyicecream.co.uk
CAPTION: Edie Hutchinson, Henley Ice Cream