Continental Crumbs

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Mar 18

The beast from the east

geschrieben von Birgit am 18/03/2018 13:51

The beast from the east (part 1 and 2)


It’s Sunday the 18th of March and I should be at the Totnes Good Food Sunday whilst I’m sitting in front of my computer writing my blog. Not sure how I feel about it as I’m enjoying a day off whilst the snow is falling outside creating a wonderful looking landscape. I’ve been already out earlier walking my dog and left the first footprints in the snow. What a magical moment!


A moment I forget about the impact it’s having on our business! And not just ours…! I recon all small and even large businesses are suffering from the unusual circumstances (unless you are selling icing salt or any equipment to do with snow).


It’s catching everyone at a time when the sale is already down. January and February are usually quiet as some have overspent on Christmas and others are tight on money anyhow.


As a market trader at the Totnes market we suffer on top of it from rainy and windy (sometimes stormy) days which aren’t inviting spending some time wondering in and around town. And I’m not just talking about us (Continental Crumbs) – I mean all traders who enjoy the sunny days but share the "life in paradise” when it’s cold, wet and windy. When it would just be nice to sit on the sofa in front of an open fire…


But somehow even on days like yesterday we find moments to enjoy when we meet our customers or visitors and talk to them. Such an amazing way to socialize… There is a spirit you rarely find anywhere else.


And I think it’s time to thank all customers, visitors and traders who make this happen!





Below you find some pictures from yesterday’s market:


Pictures I've made before the snow came...


It started at around 1:30pm and made me thinking about packing up and going home. Despite the fact that there have still been people wondering around and looking for what's on display. But somehow the experience I've made just two weeks ago has made me thinking it would be better to be at home before it getting worse.


What happened?


Well, as you might recall that's when the BEAST OF THE EAST introduced itself with snow, ice and wind. Not unexpected but a bit surprising how it turned out! 


We’ve been checking the forecast and prepared careful for the weekend when we’ve started our dough preparation on Wednesday. Already thinking it wouldn’t be as busy as usual… Considering the footfall we get on a miserable and rainy day. And obviously prepared everything we need to supply our wholesale customers.


Late Wednesday afternoon we’ve already decided to ask our employees to stay at home and I would bake everything needed for Friday with the agreement to discuss baking for Saturday depending on how it’s looking early Friday morning.


I’ve managed to bake everything as I’ve started early Thursday morning: Just in case it’ll be slippery and icy on the roads! Finished in the afternoon and drove home – late minute more or less as Oliver managed to reach our house with the van (fully loaded with bread) but I’ve already struggled to get up the hill with my car and left it down at the bottom and walked up the hill with drifting snow around.







Oliver came to rescue me and we both looked how the snow designed a complete different scenery around us. Amazing and scary at the same time…





Drifting snow started building up where there has been a gap between the hedges.



Although it looked serious and the news have been building up a picture of chaotic wintery conditions I still though we might be able to trade at the market and supply our wholesale customers as well. Even when the power went off Thursday afternoon (and has been off until late afternoon on Saturday) I kept thinking positive… until I got up the next morning.





Drifting snow made it impossible to get out – either way we’ve been able to walk but driving was nothing to consider at any time.




Even I acknowledged we wouldn’t be able to get out. In addition we wouldn’t have know if we could get where we were planning to go.





As that wasn’t bad enough being without power meant: no hot water, no heating and without all daily comfort such as kettle, oven, computer, internet, light… And I can hear you saying: You've got your mobile and can use it to browse what's going on in the world! But consider: we couldn't charge our mobile... and I've decided to keep the remaining energy for potential phone calls as our landline didn't work as well!


Due to the temperature I forgot to check the freezer! But it didn’t matter as over night the temperature in the kitchen went down to 8 degrees. Only in our living room where we’ve got a small fireplace we’ve managed to keep the temperature a bit higher. Candles throughout the house made it look very cosy and romantic. For as long as we’ve managed to forget about the van fully loaded with our bread.



Such a shame thinking it might all turn into waste…


On top of this we’ve still had dough in the fridge planned to be baked for Saturday (our second market day in Totnes) and more deliveries for our wholesale customers.


Now the work DISASTER popped up a few times. What are we doing with all the dough??? Baking was my plan, hoping we might be able to get out on Saturday (at least a little later). But even on Saturday it’s been lunch time when we’ve finally decided to walk down the hill to see if my car is still around waiting to be rescued. And maybe in driving condition to see if everything is ok in the bakery. To check if we would have power in the bakery: both desperate for a hot drink as we’ve been without power for nearly two days.


And yes, we’ve managed to get to the car and were able to drive to our unit. Amazing how much we appreciate a hot drink when you are desperate!


However: As we’ve been in the bakery I’ve decided to bake at least some of the dough and maybe deliver to a few customers in the afternoon. Bridgetown Stores has been the only one who got some bread this weekend!


Time for an emergency plan!


Oliver has had the great idea to post a special promotion on facebook! We’ve offered to sell from our unit on Sunday. Everything for £1 each!


And it’s been amazing to see the response. So many people made their way to our bakery and bought some bread.


We hope you’ve all enjoyed every single loaf.


Thank you so much for your support!


Financially a disaster but the experience and feedback has in so positive. Looking back it’s been fantastic to feel the community spirit you’ve been bringing to us.



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