Shop Local: The Exchange in March adapts to a Covid world with new app

PUBLISHED: 12:31 01 November 2020 | UPDATED: 12:31 01 November 2020

Nicky Hemsley, owner of The Exchange, launched an app so that customers who may be uncomfortable going out or self-isolating to still use their services. Picture: IAN CARTER

Nicky Hemsley, owner of The Exchange, launched an app so that customers who may be uncomfortable going out or self-isolating to still use their services. Picture: IAN CARTER

Archant

Nicky Hemsley, owner of The Exchange in March, decided to continue making an impact on residents during the coronavirus pandemic by launching an app.

Nicky Hemsley, owner of The Exchange, launched an app so that customers who may be uncomfortable going out or self-isolating to still use their services. Picture: IAN CARTERNicky Hemsley, owner of The Exchange, launched an app so that customers who may be uncomfortable going out or self-isolating to still use their services. Picture: IAN CARTER

The app allows customers to order what they would like wherever they are, as staff continue to run a delivery service to the most vulnerable.

“During lockdown, we did implement our own app and some were using it, and it’s really nice to have,” Nicky said.

“When Covid came along, we knew we were going to have to do something. Our app allows non-contact service, and a lot of people are not comfortable in coming out, so older people can order from home and it is so popular.”

Adapting to a Covid world has been vital for Nicky, owner of The Exchange tea rooms for four years, where staff also wear masks when serving and taking orders from customers.

Nicky, who is also an accountant, spent her time at home creating the app, but although she has been forced to lay off some staff since lockdown began, most employees have stayed on.

“It’s really important because, as well as for the customers, the staff also need those hours. We reduced our hours from 10am-4pm to 10am-3pm,” she said.

“I lost a couple of staff who were on furlough, but most of my main staff are here. They were youngsters at the end of their A-Levels, and I’m gutted to lose them.”

When we arrived around lunchtime, diners were enjoying themselves with afternoon teas or just a hot drink and a snack.

Customers can also tuck into a tapas restaurant and a cocktail bar at The Exchange on the Market Place, as well as receiving a friendly welcome.

Nicky said The Exchange, which has helped local surgeries and other traders like March Quality Meats, believes without that support for businesses in and around town, helping the next generation would not be possible.

“It’s never easy but working with other local traders helps,” she said.

“I think it’s lovely that when you run out of something, you can get help from close by! If we go back into lockdown, it’s going to be important to support one another.

“It is important that employers offer that support and that we can try to help the next generation.”

The Exchange can be found at 1 Market Place, telephone number 01354 650035 or visit their website: https://bit.ly/33GgTb3.

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