It’s been a funny last few weeks to say the least. On Friday 20th March we closed the skatepark to the public and on Saturday 21st March ATBShop closed its showroom doors to the public. We also then sent our staff home to keep them safe. Within hours of closing ATBShop’s doors we received plenty of messages of support; Customers calling, emailing and facebooking asking if they should buy gift vouchers so ATB had an income coming in.
Most of you will of heard of the new furlough scheme available so we send our valuable staff home on 80% pay. Wonderful news I hear you all cry? Yes ATBShop welcomed this news; however most of you won’t know that this needs to be claimed back from the government later. In a nutshell we still have to pay the wages of all their staff and then claim this back later. This could be in May, June or later it just hasn’t been done yet! There is a lot to be set up by the government for this to happen and will take a few months which is super hard on cash flow for small businesses. ATBShop’s monthly overheads are massive. Running an indoor skate park and hosting two shops comes at a huge cost. I can assure you all that no one runs a skatepark for profit but for love.
Stuart and I do not have any children apart from Abbie Doodle Bear, our dog, Pebbles, the cat and about 300 un-biological children coming to ride! So having a skatepark gives us an opportunity to give something back to our community. Some years we break even, and others we make a loss. Its not about the money, its about giving the community a home and a place to express their love for their sport. Sadly Swindon isn’t fortunate to have decent outdoor skateparks so we use the money generated by the shops to keep the skatepark open.
I guess that’s why many rushed to offer to buy gift vouchers? One customer offered to buy a £1,000 gift voucher to help us! But we said we would be ok as long as customers continuing ordering their essentials. We are very thankful for this more than kind offer and the many more that followed.
Over the last two weeks to keep ATBShop going it has become a super small family outfit with Stuart and I having done all the jobs at the shop from packing mail order to accounts and admin along with message and phone support. We’ve been totally safe, isolating ourselves while we did this. We enter the building on our own and keep ourselves locked in. Any deliveries or collections are left in the carpark – keeping not just us safe but our couriers. Our couriers also keep themselves safe by knocking on your doors or ringing bells and standing back two meters when they deliver to you all. They also now take a photo of the door being opened instead of a signature, avoiding all contact. Outer packaging is also then quarantined for several days before being recycled for sending out.
Locals and valued customers from all over the UK and Europe have been supporting ATBShop by buying from our online store and leaving us kind messages in the process.
Some have telephoned for a chat placing an order and others have messaged and then ordered online. Some have been small orders and others have been very sizable!!! We would just like to thank you all for your business and support thought this time and say you are helping to protect not only ATBShop, but our skatepark, our staff’s future jobs, their homes, rent, and to provide food for all our family’s. Due to the diversity of the shop there is something low risk for all families during lockdown from balance boards to power kites and Frisbee’s along with all normal accessories for your sports. We all can’t wait to be out again riding properly but have to stay safe while this craziness passes.
We are unsure how long the skatepark and shop will be closed for visiting but we would like to say a massive thank you for all you have done and are doing to protect ATBShop for many more years to come. Keep the orders coming to small businesses like us able to safely ship and we will all be here for you again on the other side.