Newport business owners have spoken about the need to adapt to the ever-changing coronavirus picture, and have shared their thoughts on the positives that can be taken from the most trying circumstances.

“IT IS so hard to be positive in these times, but it’s what we have to do as business owners,” says Teg Crathern, owner of Bubble Bath and Bodyworks.

She is facing an unprecedented challenge for businesses so early on in her new venture, which she only started in November last year.

“It’s not been very nice, I’ve had to furlough all my staff, and for now I’m back to going it alone,” she said.

South Wales Argus:

Teg Crathern (L) and Bridget Lewis at the Bubble Bath and Bodyworks shop in Newport.

Like many others business owners, Ms Crathern has had to adapt quickly, and she has done so by scrambling to move her business online in an effort to keep funds coming in.

The business would normally be running from 47 Commercial Street, but it is now relying on Facebook hits to attract customers.

“I’ve set up the shop online, so people can go there and look at our prices and what we offer, and we’ve got a delivery service going as well.

“We are seeing lots of orders for our natural antiseptic soaps, which has helped us too.”

Gavin Horton, owner of Horton’s Coffee Shop at Millennium Walk, says if it wasn’t for his location in the city, he is sure he would have had to close the business.

South Wales Argus:

Gavin Horton, who says he feels ‘very lucky’ Horton’s Coffee House is still open for business.

“We are very lucky that we are positioned on a main exercise track for walkers, who often stop by to pick up a drink,” he said. “It’s those little things that we are relying on at the moment.”

Mr Horton is also transitioning quicker than expected, and has now registered with Just Eat delivery service.

“It’s a bit of a suck it and see approach, but we knew we needed to do something,” he said. “We have rehashed our menu to make sure the food is still of good quality when it gets home to the customers, and we have also generated our online portal.

“It’s given us a chance to reflect and learn new skills. Skills that we’d probably have learned further down the line, but it has forced us on a bit.”

Georgia Watkins is in a not-so-unfamiliar position. She has been working on her own at Newport desserts business Lily’s Cheesecakes in Liswerry for two years.

South Wales Argus:

Georgia Watkins, owner of Lily’s Cheesecakes in Liswerry

“I’ve been okay overall and people are being really supportive by putting their orders in,” Ms Watkins said. “I feel very grateful to have had the support from the government and from residents too.

“I’m continuing to make the desserts from home and deliver them myself.”

Beatrix Hughes, owner at Pie Corner Fish Bar in Rogerstone, has echoed Ms Watkins’ sentiments, saying the queues for food have often been “going down the street”.

South Wales Argus:

Beatrix Hughes, owner of Pie Corner Fish Bar

Ms Hughes is balancing looking after her son, seven, and daughter, two, while running the busy shop.

“The kids being off has probably been the biggest challenge,” she laughed. “It’s a really testing time, but a chance for us to find an alternative approach.

“We’re not letting people into the shop, and we’ve made a board which customers can speak to us through which probably might have something to do with the bigger queues,” she said, “but we have been really busy throughout the lockdown period. Not much has changed in terms of orders.

“We’ve seen lots of new customers too, which has been encouraging - possibly because of restaurants closing.”