Lockdown at Evenlode DIY
Normal life changed for us all overnight back in March… As a shop we rushed to find out if we were allowed to stay open and with a sigh of relief we found out we could. Then the reality hit and the age of our staff and underlying conditions meant that all but Sam, Trish, Paul, Nick and our Admin, Nic had to be furloughed. New procedures needed to be sorted and a new way of working had to be formed. No more customers in the shop, phone collection and deliveries offered. In reality, none of us really knew what to expect…
Our now small team, soon had to become a bigger team as the phone was non stop from first thing in the morning until the shop closed. Deliveries were heading out daily and the list just kept getting bigger. We were lucky that we could call upon Trish’s family to come and help with deliveries, sorting orders and stacking shelves to ensure we could work effectively and efficiently.
However bad things were outside of the shop, there was always laughter and fun being had inside. With Nic having no idea what she was doing she had to learn quickly and some of the things she thought she had been asked for on the phone and at the front door, had us all rolling around in fits of laughter. Paul was head of tea and obviously the weather update too but also missed his contact with the public. Between us all we did 1000’s of steps a day, running backwards and forwards around the shop, making sure everyone got what they wanted.
As other businesses were closed or unable to get certain products, we started to run out of certain things and so our ‘out of stock’ list grew. The village seemed to work in waves and after the compost had all flooded out the door, it followed quickly by fence paint, wood, paint and bird food. We are sure the birds were very happy with us all being in lockdown!
For the first 3 months part time staff were full time, full time staff were working 6 days but we were all just grateful we got to see people and have fun, although completely exhausted. We had had to change the whole way the shop ran but with a great team behind us, it worked and continues to do so, even now as we still work to a door service only. With the shop as it is, we were, and still are unable to let people in but the village seemed to understand and still supported us so much.
Once lockdown restrictions were lessoned and others went back to work, or had completed all of their home improvements, things started to calm down a little and as the sun continued to shine we were finally able to enjoy some of it while chatting to customers, which we had not had the time to do in the first few months. The queues slowed down but the deliveries continued and business remained good. Slowly, the furloughed staff started to return. They all had to get used to the new normal of the shop and get used to the sometimes inappropriate humour we had found over lockdown. If there is one thing that COVID 19 has shown Evenlode DIY, it is that we can conquer anything as a team. It has brought us all much closer and we are and will always be very grateful, not only for that, but for the support the village gave, and continues to give us, ensuring that we, as a business, have survived where others have not. Things are still far from normal but we have a new normal. For now we will continue this way, until we are in a position to bring back an open door for people to come and browse round and enter the Eynsham Tardis.
2020 has been stressful, tiring, amusing, fun, busy but most importantly a great experience for us all at Evenlode DIY. The laughter has got us through and some of you out there have probably helped us with a lot of that.
Thank you from us all at Evenlode DIY and here is to 2021 possibly bringing back the old normal