#ShopLocal : Warm welcome still awaits in cosy cafe in Spilsby
Bijoux Cafe in High Street is a popular venue for breakfasts, lunches, coffee and cafe - but when Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown came, big changes had to be made so it could stay operating.
The cafe is being promoted in East Lindsey District Council's new initiative Shop Local, Stay Safe, Be Kind, designed to promote and champion our town centres as safe places to shop and visit. It aims to encourage residents and visitors alike to safely rediscover the district's market towns.
During lockdown, owner Caroline Bray was able to keep the business going by introducing an 'Eat Out' menu, including hot meals that could be delivered.
The time was also used to remodel the cafe so they would be prepared once restrictions were eased.
Upon reopening in July for ‘dine in’ and takeout customers, Caroline and her very small team have been keen to ensure customers have as comfortable and welcoming experience as possible, whilst also adhering to new Covid-19 Secure policies and safety procedures.
New washable floor coverings were installed, fresh washable paint applied to the café walls, and Perspex suspended screens placed at the till area.
The till was also able to take ‘contactless’ payments for the first time, as previously the café was a cash only establishment.
Slightly smaller chairs were sourced to maximise the space and ensure social distancing, and non-washable cushions were removed.
The menu remains the same in terms of all the delicious options available – including a great range of homemade and locally sourced menu items, along with what she is confident to call ‘the best coffee in town'. but the physical menus have been reprinted and made surface wipeable.
The business’s Facebook page was also utilised a lot more and became a vital way to inform customers of new procedures as well as showcasing some of the menu items available to entice hungry visitors back through the doors.
New systems and services have been introduced too – from Track and Trace for customers, new additional cleaning regimes for staff, and additional retail products sourced to buy and take home to enjoy.
Bijoux also offers a catering service and personal dining room on the first floor of the café – and this has been made available exclusively for the use of families and support bubbles.
Caroline says the changes have been well-received. "We've been working really hard to keep things going for our customers and staff," said Caroline.
"For many we are a hub where people come to meet friends and it has been hard for them," said Caroline. "For the elderly it may be their only trip out in the week and a lot have even come to just chat to us through the window over the past few months.
"One young mum last week told me it was her first trip out since March.
"It's so important our customers support us so we can carry on - not only for us but for our suppliers who are all Lincolnshire businesses."
* The campaign can be found on Facebook and Instagram; key information relating to the campaign will also be hosted on the Love Lincolnshire Wolds website - www.lovelincolnshirewolds.com
'Shop Local, Stay Safe, Be Kind' messages have also been introduced to several towns, with pavement graphics and signage.
Louth, Horncastle, Alford and Spilsby will also benefit from their own dedicated social media pages. The Love Louth, Love Spilsby, Love Alford and Love Horncastle accounts will bring residents and visitors news on events, inspiration for shopping, special offers and guidance on staying safe.