The challenge.

Stephen Queen, owner of Chaplin’s Coffee House in Grantown had to temporarily close his business due to the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020 and investigated the various business support schemes which were being announced by the UK and Scottish governments.

Seeing his income drop overnight, Stephen turned to her accountants Goldwells in Grantown for business advice.

Mr Queen said: “Chaplin’s closed on 21st March and we tried some takeaway but it wasn’t possible to stay open due to the low level of demand in the area. As I have a 90-year-old mother who needs to socially isolate I decided to close the business to focus on looking after her.

“I have run the café for 11 years and Grantown is a great place to do business. We have a steady trade of local, loyal customers and in spring and summer there are lots of tourism events and general tourism passing trade which keeps us really busy. The Grantown show is great for business and the Harley Davidson event, which has been passing through the Highlands for 23 years brings over 2,000 bikers to the area.

“But the coronavirus and lockdown put an end to that and the market crashed suddenly. It was something nobody could ever have predicted.”

The response.

“When we realised we had to close, we expected it to be for a few weeks. Initially, from a business perspective, it was very confusing. We had no idea how long we would be closed for, but I wanted to do everything I could to protect my staff and the business.

“The portals can be a nightmare, so thankfully Lorna and the team at Goldwells in Grantown were able to help me find my way around the various options.

“There is a wide range of support available but it is not always easy to see what your business is and isn’t eligible for.

“While I was worrying about my family, my staff and my business, it was important to get good professional advice to help us make sure we are there for the future.

“Managing the business, the staff and my own responsibilities was a huge challenge but I needed to access the coronavirus job retention scheme and find out if there were any grants or loans I could apply for. I was relieved that Lorna and her team were able to help me get my accounts in order and advise me what other support I could access. The team at Goldwells has always been very helpful but they have surpassed themselves during the coronavirus pandemic.”