Things we’ve learnt in 2021

Well, we said it last year and we’ll say it again – it’s been a funny old year! With the after-effects of the pandemic rippling through life even now, lots has changed. If we could have jumped forward from October 2019 and seen the world, and even Jones & Cane, in October 2021, I wonder what we’d have thought?

We’d certainly have noticed that our premises look a bit different. We’ve kept a lot of the features of our COVID safety measures, from screens to signage. We’ve also done as much as we can to ensure stock levels are right in a time when supply and demand aren’t always matching up! Paper products, cardboard and all sorts of other items have been in short supply so we’ve made a real effort to be well-stocked for our customers at a time when supply is falling short elsewhere, whilst prices spiral upwards.

On reflection, at the end of 2021, we’ve also noticed that everyone’s changed their habits. We’ve certainly noticed that customers like the convenience and fast delivery they can expect from our website, but also that it’s been helpful to have three ways of buying from us – online, in person and over the phone. As a business that has always focussed on customer service, it’s great to see customers switching between the three to get exactly what they want when they want it.

Another lesson from the last couple of years is that we are resilient when it comes to change. We had to limit opening hours for a fair chunk of 2020 and 2021, but we managed. We’d like to think this didn’t inconvenience our customers too much, and it allowed us to do what we needed to do to run at safe staff levels and keep COVID from the door. We learned that call-and-collect ordering suited our customers well and made us all feel safer. We certainly missed having a chat, but we managed it on the phone and with the odd shout and wave out of a window!

Of course looking forward from pre-COVID times, we would see that some things haven’t changed in the last couple of years. Edie, our office dog, still wanders between our workspaces asking for treats, and we’re pleased we’ve been able to keep all those desks full. We’re still opening our doors every day to customers old and new, and doing our best to help solve packaging problems. We’re still beavering away in the background to stick to our ideals of quality packaging in reasonable quantities at a fair price.

We know we’re very lucky to have got through the pandemic with our business intact, and we’re very grateful. Our loyal customer base, and all the lovely new people we’ve met since lockdowns changed their lives and businesses, are what keeps us smiling and plodding on through these funny old times. We hope we will continue to do so as the world recovers and moves forwards, and we wish the same for them all too!