Owners Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes share their experiences of the last few weeks.
We never imagined we would be writing a column as toy shop owners, without any of our toy shops actually open! As I am sure most of you have experienced, it has been a rollercoaster few weeks, having to take decisions that we never thought we would have to take. As the coronavirus pandemic situation began to swiftly escalate in March, it became clear that we would no longer be trading by the end of the month, and we took the decision to close our stores on Monday 23rd. This was just before the announcement that evening by the Prime Minister that all non-essential shops were ordered to close. In the end it was a relief, as we had already decided it was not appropriate to keep trading under the circumstances, and it was safer for our customers and staff if we were not open. All Toy Barnhaus stores joined the UK lockdown on the Tuesday, and since then life has been very different.
Those of you who are familiar with our story will know that our background is firmly in bricks and mortar, and we have previously never had a presence online. However, before the pandemic even started, we had plans in the pipeline to start selling online from spring this year. The current crisis has accelerated those plans; it has been a very steep learning curve, but one we have ridden.
To draw a positive from the current situation, without our shops being open, we have been able to put all our focus into learning how to trade online, seeing what works best and reacting accordingly. While still running the shops, it would have been much more difficult to be able to develop as quickly as we have.
Read more in the full article from the May edition of Toy World here.