These are really strange times right now for us all and it’s taken me well over a week to sit at the computer to think about writing this wee blog post! Being in business is always about adapting to change and coping with the unexpected which we have had our fair share of here in Hebden Bridge over our last 14 years! This current situation, however, is certainly something different entirely isn’t it?
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was writing a blog about Storm Ciara and trying to recover from both that and Storm Dennis! We were just starting to see visitors returning to our beautiful town and to shop with us and the many other small independents who had managed to reopen. We had lost all Valentine’s Day sales at the beginning of February due to having to remain closed whilst the threat of flooding passed so we were really looking forward to Mother’s Day.
As we are considered a non essential shop we decided to close Heart Gallery before Mother’s Day to do our bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus locally and, although there is so much uncertainty, we now know this was the right thing to do. We don’t have a selling website so this will obviously impact on us but we have no intention of creating one. With all staff furloughed to hopefully protect their jobs and the future of Heart Gallery, and out of respect to the Post Office and Royal Mail Workers, again this is the right decision to take.
When I started Heart Gallery back in 2006, I always intended it to be a destination; a beautiful building showcasing beautiful handmade work by local and UK artists, designers and makers. It was hard work educating people about the joy of buying something that has been handmade and by doing so supporting not just us as a family run gallery but other small creative businesses. It was also extremely rewarding.
It’s clear that nobody could have predicted this part of our journey; something that appears to have started in Wuhan has impacted so many in such a bewildering way. I know I am not alone when I say I am bewildered. I know I am not alone when I say I am scared. I know I am not alone when I say I am struggling. Struggling to concentrate. Struggling to sleep. Struggling to adjust to a new ‘normal’ for now. However, I am also feeling blessed to be with my husband in our little rural home. Being at home has always brought me joy but now it’s expanding my heart even more and making me feel so grateful. Here I can rest, recover, nourish and plan for business recovery – because business will get better and we will survive, together. Ordinary stuff I have taken for granted at home feels to matter more now and even though things are extremely uncertain I know I don’t just want to survive I want to come out of this thriving.