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‘People Working From Home Has Changed Our Business’ Says Stationers Biddles

Published on: 19 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 22 Oct, 2020

By Hugh Coakley

Biddles, the stationers in Ward Street in Guildford was in buoyant mood today as the final member of staff returned back to the business, six months after being sent home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The success is partly down to the changes in business practises due to Covid-19. Co-owner David Goddard, said: “All the old staff are back again. People working from home has changed our business.”

Biddles in their refurbished premises in Ward Street are doing well from the changes

Earlier in the year Biddles owners Neal Heaven and David Goddard had been in a sombre mood as they told The Dragon of their fight for survival when its parent company went into administration (see Crowdfund race against time to save long-running Biddles stationery shop).

Rhys Knight, who worked for Biddles for 10 years before Covid, said: “No-one is hiring at the moment. It’s a relief to be back earning.”

But there was a very different spirit in the shop today. “What we set to achieve by crowdfunding, we have achieved.” said David. “We have been able to offer all the jobs back, three full-time and one part-time.”

People are setting up home work stations and increasing demand in particular for office chairs, printer ink and paper. Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand on some products, said Neal.

He added: “We are even looking to import paper direct from India as the UK wholesalers can’t keep up with demand.

Chris Green had worked for 16 years at Biddles. “I can pay my bills now. its good to see the old customers.”

“It’s unbelievable. I never would have predicted this six months ago. I am now confident that we can keep going. We are in the process of sorting out our lease but we are confident it will happen.

“Not only was it the saving of Biddles but it was the saving of me as well. I’ve found a new lease of life. My retirement is on hold.

“We can’t thank The Dragon enough for your articles, it made a real difference.”

David said: “Now we are independent, we have the freedom to decide what we want to do and how we serve our customers. Our customers from the smaller businesses in town have come back and we now we want to attract the bigger customers in as well.”

Neal Heaven and David Goddard, co-owners of Biddles, said they had taken a pay cut to keep the business going. David said: “All of us have decided to go on the same pay rate. There’s no differential now. We are all in this together.”

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Responses to ‘People Working From Home Has Changed Our Business’ Says Stationers Biddles

  1. Amanda Creese Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    That is brillliant news. A glimmer of hope in a difficult time. Well done to all and onward and upwards for Biddles. And we must all support our local shops.

  2. Pauline Surrey Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Marvellous! Support our local businesses. That’s what we need to do now more than ever.

  3. Jan Messinger Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Let’s hope the messages going around the residents of Guildford and surrounding village on social media about buying from a small independent business this Christmas. Biddles is a place you can buy a single pen for a stocking filler or an office chair and a whole lot more.

    Let’s hope their business goes from strength to strength along with Guildford’s other independents hoping to survive another year.

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