Burnley shop owner fears her dream business on verge of closure due to Covid-19
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Cheryl Jackson, who fulfilled her dream to open her shop, Cuppa Cakes Ltd, last year, said: "My heart is breaking at the thought of losing my beautiful shop, but it's that close and I know of at least two other businesses in the same position.
"This could be the end of independent shops in the town which would be such a shame."
Cheryl opened the shop in Standish Street in November last year, in the middle of the pandemic, and was moved by the support she received from customers and other businesses in Burnley.
Cheryl started her business from home whilst also working full time. After being made redundant in 2016 she began working from the Heasandford Industrial Estate in Burnley but, when a lot of the staff working in the surrounding offices were furloughed, it spelled the end for her.
She got herself a supermarket job to help save up for when the time was right to open a shop.
A drop in consumer confidence due to uncertainty around what would happen before Christmas meant that sales were drastically affected for Cheryl at what should have been the busiest time of the year.
She added: "We needed a busy Christmas and didn't get it. January is always quiet with diets and cutbacks but we won't be here in February if people don't support us."
The cancellation of festive parties and family gatherings had a drastic knock on effect for Cheryl as orders were cancelled along with the increase in people buying online rather than going into town, and high rents as landlords refuse to make allowances for the drop in income.
Cheryl added: " The government is helping hospitality, which is great, but we rely on parties and family gatherings for our cake and cupcakes.
"When they restrict hospitality they restrict us but we aren't classed as hospitality so don't get the same support."
Since opening Cuppa Cakes Ltd has helped to raise money for several different charities through the 'Cake It Forward' initiative where customers were invited to buy an extra treat for someone vulnerable or down on their luck. The money donated for the extra treats was then given to a nominated charity at the end of each month.
Cheryl and her team, including her partner Shaun Foxcroft and daughter in law Joanne White, also raised money for Pendleside Hospice by selling Jordan North cupcakes when he appeared on TV reality show 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here' last year.
" We have supported so many local charities and fund raisers, now it's us that need the support," said Cheryl.
"Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm not to proud to ask for help through January because I know we have a cracking little shop."