Spotlight on Seaham's essential traders in Lockdown 3
From coffee shops offering tasty takeaways on daily walks to traders selling essentials, there’s still a broad range of businesses open in Seaham during Lockdown 3.
As part of our ongoing #SupportLocal campaign, we’re visiting local high streets around the area and this week the spotlight falls on Seaham.
The town’s traders have had a difficult 10 months tackling ever-changing restrictions and lockdowns. Unlike Sunderland’s local high streets, it’s a local economy which is boosted by tourism, with many day trippers flocking to its excellent independent coffee shops and cafes pre-Covid.
For many businesses, technology has been key to their survival in testing times.
Health food cafe Flamingo opened in Seaham Marina two years ago, but owner Hannah Jackson-Harrison never envisaged half that time would be spent dealing with Covid restrictions.
She adapted by launching an app for ordering in the first Lockdown, as well as investing in takeout packaging, which has helped her to continue trading in line with the varying restrictions, no matter how quickly the changes are introduced.
As well as using the click & collect service online, people can walk up to order Flamingo’s broad range of coffees, cakes, smoothies, breakfasts and brunches.
Hannah said: “I was really excited for my second year in business and never imagined we’d be dealing with this. It’s been a real learning curve and we’ve had to adapt, but the app has worked a treat. We hit the ground running with that and it’s meant when new rules have come in it hasn’t affected us as much."
An outdoor area has also been ideal, with people not being able to mix indoors.
Flamingo is open Wednesday to Friday from 10am to 2pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm and although there’s no day trippers in Lockdown, Hannah says they’ve welcomed some new local faces.
"We have our regulars, but we have lost a few customers because of the restrictions and people not being able to travel outside of their area,” she explained. “But because we all have to stay local, it’s also pushed people to try more things on their doorstep and we’ve met some new faces from Seaham which is great.”
Utilising the internet has also been a vital part of The Little Refill Shop’s business plan in Lockdown.
The zero waste store in Adelaide Row offers cupboard staples, herbs and spices, household cleaning products and toiletries without plastic. During the first Lockdown, the business teamed up with ShopAppy.com, a one-stop shop website with a host of local businesses all on one site, so that people could easily place orders of their products for delivery. It’s a system that’s worked well and they still regularly deliver across SR1, SR2, SR3, SR4 and SR7.
As it serves essentials, the shop itself is still open but co-owner Angela Scrafton says the website has introduced them to a wider audience.
"We didn’t have a website, so using the ShopAppy platform has been ideal for us,” she explained. “A website is probably something we would have looked at doing in a few years, but the pandemic has accelerated that.
"There are some of our regular customers who order online who have never even been in the shop.”