Local company has the right recession idea

OWNER Kerry Fry at Charlie's Cafe.
OWNER Kerry Fry at Charlie's Cafe.
Rae Bryden, manager at Joules in Gunwharf Quays, who was the Manager of the Year winner and was runner-up in the Fashion Store of the Year category at The News's Retail and Leisure Awards in 2016.  Picture: Sarah Standing (170883-5016)

Shortlist revealed for The News Retail and Leisure Awards 2017

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GOOD-quality products and exemplary customer service are the key to success, says a small Drayton business which is weathering the recession.

The advice has not been given by a financial company, but rather a cafe, which is heading into its third year of trading.

Kelly Fry, owner of Charlie’s Cafe in Havant Road, Drayton, has had to build up her business from scratch while the credit crunch and then the recession took its toll.

She then had to battle with the partial closure of Havant Road last year, which led to traders’ profits being slashed by 80 per cent, and now has to cope with the 20 per cent VAT on her food.

But she said being true to the principles of offering her customers good service, and not scrimping on the quality of her products – while working with suppliers to cut costs – had helped her not only survive, but see her customer base grow.

‘We’ve had to expand to survive as well, doing a roaring takeaway service, and outside catering, especially when the road was shut.

‘We also met with Colas to ensure the road signs showed our part of Havant Road was still open for business.’

‘But good customer service and never, ever letting the quality of your products slip is the key.

‘It’s very easy to panic in a recession and try and cut corners and costs to save money, but it won’t work.’

Charlie’s Cafe turns three years old on Friday, and to celebrate Mrs Fry is offering her customers birthday cake and free tea.

She said: ‘We’re lucky that we have a loyal customer base and we just want to give something back to them because they’ve supported us through it all.’