August 2021 Meeting Shorts

Chairman, Kevin Guthrie, welcomed members to the August edition of Newark Business Club where the speakers below discussed the importance of resilience during lockdown.

Leisa Pickles, Find Me The Leads

Leisa helps food and drink producers get their products into more places and runs To My Front Door UK Newark. The Facebook group has over 3,000 members and aims to showcase independent retailers to more people locally.

Back on 4th March 2020 Leisa held a meeting at Ann Et Vin to get local retailers together with the aim to provide their produce easier to the local community. At the same time she landed her biggest client who came from overseas. Within a couple of weeks that all unravelled and Leisa felt a low.

During lockdown, people were coming to her for information and advice about food retailers and that’s where the idea came for To My Front Door UK Newark Facebook group in order to help the local community find alternatives to the major supermarkets and showcase independent food businesses in Newark.

Leisa has achieved her goal of serving the community and building her reputation amongst retailers and that has been recognised with a Small Business Saturday 100 award and a finalist in Newark Business Awards 2021.

Finally, Leisa urges you, as an expert in your field, to share what you know.

Hajra Kemari, Petit Versailles

Following on from the first networking session, Kevin shared a video interview with Hajra Kemari of Petit Versailles on Stodman Street in Newark. Hajra is a seamstress and bespoke bridal gown designed but during the first lockdown as places were closing down, Hajra started making scrubs for the NHS and with donations of fabrics she made over 350 scrubs and 450 masks. She shared some of the comments that she received about her fabulous window display that kept smiles on people’s faces during a tough period.

Mark Duignan, Barcode Warehouse

After the second networking session, we heard from Mark Duignan, Technical Services Director at Barcode Warehouse.

Barcode Warehouse are in the business of supplying hardware, software and support around labels and barcodes. They work with most of the major names in logistics including Royal Mail, Hermes etc.

There was a plan in place for growth over 2020 but that all changed when lockdown made them take alternative measures. Fortunately, they had a business continuity plan in place as if they couldn’t work, it would impact on their customers’ ability to work. Although a worldwide pandemic wasn’t included in the plan, most of the same issues they faced were covered in the potential scenarios and within 2 weeks, 2/3 of the staff were up and working from home without any interruption to the business. Then the world went crazy.

Order and workloads increased with the world moving to online and without the preparation, they would not have been able to deliver on the surge of new business.

Despite adjusting to a global pandemic, during 2020 they helped 219,085 customers with calls, answering them in under 20 seconds on average. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

2 Minute Wonders

Last month’s new member out the hat was Jason Spering and as he was on holiday, John Fairest from On Point took to the stage on Jason’s behalf, to tell us all about On Point Network and On Point Archery.

Newark Town FC

Finally, Steff Wright introduced the new Manager of Newark Town FC, Nathan Arnold who shared his story and vision for Newark Town FC. Then Todd Cauthorn from YMCA gave us an update on how the sports village was progressing and confirmed that they are on course for completion in Spring 2022. The development is going to be a fantastic asset to the Newark community


Kevin signed off to say that we are hoping to be back in the Everyday Champions Centre for the September meeting on Friday 3rd but stay tuned for more details.

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