Business As Unusual

Times are changing and Yorkshire businesses are too, from delivery services to making scrubs, and drive-throughs to virtual visits, check out these inspiring ideas.

Hull Hideout

Beautiful boutique accommodation Hideout Apartment Hotel in Hull has opened its doors to a completely different clientele during the Coronavirus outbreak. Keyworkers are staying in the ideally equipped lockdown location. Staff are pleasantly surprised at just how suitable and adaptable the apartments have been – contactless (so no human interaction when accessing the building and checking in), room access through a keypad with a personal code, all apartments have kitchens (perfect for dining after a busy shift), no carpets making sterilising the rooms using strong detergents achievable during guest changeover, two smart TVs, free unlimited WiFi, use of a printer and a quiet environment to work, plus some apartments have street access through private patio areas. There are views of Hull Minster and Trinity Square making this an appealing key(worker) lockdown location, location, location.

Melody Makers

Tuning in to the current coronavirus times, Opera North has announced a new ‘Lockdown Edition’ of its successful Resonance programme. Designed to support artists and musicians from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in exploring new ideas and collaborating with other creatives, it’s part of the Leeds-based company’s drive to address the impact of the pandemic on the arts, under current, uniquely challenging circumstances. Applications by Friday 8th May. 

Tails Of The Unexpected

Being a small business owner can be challenging at the best of times and at the very start of the Covid19 outbreak Jane Stammers, passionate baker of yummy rich, moist cakes at Tipple Tails, lost a lot of business when Spring events were cancelled and excess stock was left. BUT Tipple Tails online sales then sky rocketed! Although quite challenging, as the bakery shut down (for now) with production and packing orders solely down to just Jane and the postal service being quite stretched, but so far, so goodies. Not sure if the online sales will fully compensate for the losses of cancelled events but Jane’s spirits have certainly been lifted, from the lovely personal messages being sent out with the delicious cakes to people who are isolated from family and friends for all sorts of occasions (birthdays still happen) … or just because!

Bringing Dance Tutu You

Due to the impact of COVID-19, many of Northern Ballet’s upcoming performances have been cancelled. Whilst the Company is not performing live at this time, a selection of ballets from Northern Ballet’s repertoire plus a new original dance film will be available to watch online or on television as part of the company’s Pay As You Feel Digital Season. Northern Ballet are asking audiences to consider making a donation as they watch to support the company, their people and work during these unprecedented times.

Castle Howard’s Way

From sausages to shrubs the Farm Shop and Garden Centre at Castle Howard are keeping locals stocked up. Regional fresh produce, store cupboard essentials and locally reared meats are now available through an online ‘order, pre-pay and collect’ service, as well as being delivered into local villages. Keep those borders bedecked with blooms, as the Garden Centre’s pick of the crop in plants, garden tools, outdoor furniture and accessories reflecting the long traditions of the estate’s landscape can be delivered too.

All Sewn Up

Isabel Innes, wardrobe assistant at Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre has adapted her handy needle skills to create scrub bags face masks and headbands for NHS staff during the Coronavirus pandemic, after reading an appeal on Facebook from For The Love of Scrubs – Our NHS Needs You. From working on productions such as A Christmas Carol, The 39 Steps, Alice in Wonderland and Stepping Out to Treasure Island, Isabel has now switched her sewing skills to help those treading the wards as opposed to treading the boards.

Rising To The Occasion

Famed for its tea rooms serving tasty treats and delicious dining, Bettys is also known for its beautiful bread range. Sold through its six branch shops around Yorkshire, now for the first time, Bettys is selling bread online. The Bettys Bread Box contains five loaves of freshly baked artisan bread delivered straight from the bakery to anywhere in the UK. Handpicked by Bettys’ craft bakers for their comforting flavours, the box includes Yorkshire Cobble, Wholemeal Loaf, Yorkshire Pebble, Swiss Fitness and Yorkshire Millers Loaf. All suitable for freezing.

Hospital(Ity) Help

Yorkshire hotel company, HRH Group, saw their business model change almost overnight to accommodate NHS and key worker personnel in hotels and turned its AA rosette restaurant into a takeaway service for Yorkshire’s Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate. Hotels including The White Hart Hotel adapted fast, with staff working around the clock and a small skeleton team pitching in whilst social distancing. In addition to their usual jobs, the managing director delivers takeaways, the commercial manager cooks breakfast and the rooms manager takes takeaway orders. Simon Cotton, Managing Director said; “It has been a humbling experience for all of us at the HRH Group to be able to do our little bit to support our amazing NHS teams and the other key workers in the community who are indeed going above and beyond.” Never before did the group think that their AA rosette restaurant food would be served in a takeaway box. However, The Fat Badger’s takeaway business is now going strong.

Farm ‘Drive-Thru’

To minimise social contact Wakefield’s Blacker Hall Farm has opened a ‘Drive-Thru’ shop, offering pre-packaged essentials, including fresh meat, fish, veg, fruit and salad boxes, without having to leave the car. The award-winning family business had to adapt quickly amid the Coronavirus outbreak to satisfy the needs of their loyal customers including a local delivery priority service for the over 70s, vulnerable and self-isolating, and a click and collect service. Over 80% of everything sold from the Calder Grove-based farm is made onsite at the Farm Shop, or home reared on the land. Many more Yorkshire farm shops are offering similar great services including Bert’s Barrow, Cannon Hall Farm, Drewton’s and Keelham Farm Shop.

Virtual Visits

Walk the walk as the Wharfedale Grange wedding team have proposed a new way to view their dream destination in preparation for the big day, with virtual FaceTime tours of this luxury location. Nestled between Leeds and Harrogate, couples can see the wonderful wedding venue from the safety of their sofa whilst taking in everything that this stunning rural redevelopment of four beautiful barns combined with farmhouse-luxe has to offer, plus the breathtaking panoramic Yorkshire vista. Take a look around during lockdown and plan the perfect wedding day.

In The Spirit

Serving up gin and whisky, Cooper King Distillery have added to their range by busily producing hand sanitiser and distributing it for free to local care homes and hospitals, and are now making enough to also purchase online. Plus there’s free nationwide delivery on their spirits, including a free hand sanitiser with any bottle purchase. We’ll drink to that (well, not the sanitiser!) Also offering similar services, and many more too, include Harrogate Tipple and Whitby Gin.


This article was originally written for This Is Y magazine digital edition – May 2020. To view the full magazine, click here