Shop Local: Supporting one another helps bakery grow a fine reputation

Tina Prior (pictured), owner of The Old Bakery on Market Hill, Chatteris, has reached out to other local businesses and...

Tina Prior (pictured), owner of The Old Bakery on Market Hill, Chatteris, has reached out to other local businesses and the wider community in a bid to support one another. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

From hot sandwiches to daily specials, reaching out to the wider community has perhaps been one of the keys to The Old Bakery’s fine reputation.

Tina Prior has been running the Chatteris tea rooms for more than 15 years, and has witnessed the growth of her business as it continues to adapt to uncertain times.

“Partly because we didn’t know what to do during lockdown, we shut for five months, then in August, we reopened. We wanted to get everything in place so we could run safely,” she said.

“A lot of our customers were shielding, so we waited to get as much in place and we did more than we needed to do.”

Some tables have been removed to cater for social distancing guidelines, while Tina also considered installing Perspex screens.

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Perhaps one of the most successful periods during the Covid-19 pandemic has been the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and some customers have even had to be turned away.

“We got more customers during Eat out to Help Out and Saturdays, October 17-24, have been our busiest days,” Tina said.

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“We have not been as busy, but being some tables short has not made a massive impact on us.

“We have had to turn people away and there are a percentage that haven’t come back. We’ve been here for 15 years and a lot of people know us and what I’m involved in.”

Tina, who is also involved in Chatteris in Bloom and the town’s cinema and camera club as well as the local food bank, has played her part in uniting her local community.

She is also now using social media as a way of making connections with people, such as filming a ‘company and cake’ Facebook Live session to entertain her followers.

But for Tina, helping one another in the town is vital and the difference that adapting to the digital era has made over time.

“I started using social media last year and we’ve got more in the habit of putting things on there, and I’ve noticed the difference in reaching out to people,” she said.

“I think people sometimes forget what businesses are doing for the local community and in other ways.

“When I heard Andrea (Moat) was celebrating 15 years at the florists, I shared it on my Facebook page. We all try to support one another.”

To book a table, visit The Old Bakery on 3 Market Hill, call 01354 696260 or go to their Facebook page.

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