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How have things been for you during this unprecedented time?

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, I must say, with the opening of our family run tea shop, Hilly’s in Shere, at the beginning of the year taking up most of my time. "Bubble & Twist" took a step back and, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining and I was able to rebrand to The Twisted Drink Co during this time. At the tea shop, we’ve been up to all sorts with cupcakes, cream teas, cakes and cocktails delivered to local villages like Gomshall, Peaslake, Abinger Hammer, Albury and further afield. Customers have even ordered extras to give to key workers as thank you’s, and we helped to raise more than £1,000 for the local Shere Surgery which they were able to put towards PPE and other measures to keep staff and patients safe.

What has been the secret of your success in getting through it?

We’ve just tried to stay as calm as possible and find ways to adapt to the ever-changing environment. The support has been amazing. We’ve also tried to keep others smiling too by occasionally dropping off homemade cakes and cheese scones as treats for people self-isolating and other local businesses doing amazing things during lockdown.

Despite the challenges, have you found yourself in any humorous situations?

Well, balancing a family business with looking after three kids, four cats and an eight-week-old puppy has had its moments! Need I say more? We also added handmade tic-tac-toe set to some orders to add a bit of fun to lockdown for other people’s kids.

What advice would you have for other local businesses?

It seems clear that the way people shop has changed for at least the next six to 12 months, so adapt and change your offer to entice them. Add online classes, delivery services etc but above all keep smiling and enjoy it the best you can.

Any new initiatives that you are planning for this summer?

As we open the Tea Shop again, hopefully I will be able to launch my KOCKTAIL KLUB on a few evenings each month. We will also be serving my Twisted Soda/slushies from the shop, which are perfect summer refreshment.

Why is it important that people ‘Stay Loyal to Local’ going forward?

With us local small producers having to deal with a lot over the past few months, the next 12 to 16 months are going to be interesting to say the least. If everybody supports local, we can get through this time and show them that we can offer stuff that in most cases is better than the "big boys". I look forward to meeting more and more people at Hilly’s soon.

Lastly, what is your own favourite thing about the local area?

As in last question, we Surrey have sooooooooooooo many different small independent companies/businesses offering a mountain of different products and services. So, as a group, we can show the "big boys" and world that we are here to stay and that we are the best at what we do.

Tags: drinks Stay Loyal to Local campaign