When Corbridge Larder came up for sale in 2015, former accountant Jen Horton jumped at the opportunity to own her own business and revitalise a much-loved local shop.
Working with the existing team of staff, Jen and her team created an improved café above the existing deli and worked with local suppliers to stock a range of North East cheeses, beers, gins, baked goods and chutneys. They also recruited a new chef to produce freshly made food.
Lockdown had a severe impact on the business but the team quickly adapted to offer a delivery and pick-up service, freshly cooked ready meals, and a range of additional products that they knew customers were finding difficult to source in supermarkets.
A local author, Louise Ross, provided funds to supply food to key workers, care homes and local families, and the team applied for a grant to help them improve their website, including the facility for people to order food hampers online.
A grant of £3,000 from the North East Business Support Fund (Restart & Recovery/Kick-starting Tourism) – which is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Northern Powerhouse – allowed Corbridge Larder to work with a North East marketing agency to redevelop their website, improve their digital marketing, and commission new photography.
“The marketing company we worked with have been amazing and the new website has helped us to build our hamper business” said Jen.
“If this support hadn’t been available, we wouldn’t have been able to get through this,” said Jen. “There’s been a strong sense of community spirit throughout the pandemic and people have supported each other, and been keen to shop locally. I’m pleased we’ve been able to stay open for our local community and, due to decisions and actions we’ve taken during the various lockdowns, I believe we will come out of this stronger – in fact, we hope to be able to take on more staff to help with the increased number of orders for hampers.
“Support from grants like this has enabled businesses to adapt and ultimately, if the ‘shop local’ support continues, should lead to the hire of more people. I think that we’ll see a change in our high streets in the future, as they start to fill with independent shops again.”
The North East Business Support Fund (Restart & Recovery/Kick-starting Tourism) is administered by North East Enterprise Agency NBSL.
NBSL is approved by BEIS and has achieved the Customer First accreditation. NBSL has a team of experienced business funding advisers who work with people and businesses across the North East to identify solutions that aid development and growth.
NBSL relaunched North East Business Support Fund in 2018. The inaugural round of funding was launched in 2012, since then NBSL has provided funding and support to businesses from an array of sectors spanning all corners of the region with a recent impact report finding that the fund has yielded an impressive £4.40 economic boost for every £1 invested.