Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A New Year

As most of you are aware Patch was hit quite hard by the tidal surge that affected the East Coast on 5th December. We have been shut since and will remain closed for a little while longer.
I won't speculate as to how long our repairs will take, or potential reopening dates as everything is out of my hands now and decisions lie with the landlord and his insurance company.
We have been told the repairs will be done as quickly as possible, but sea water is very corrosive so obviously we want a proper job done!!
You can see the impact the surge had on the exterior of our building from the photos below. Our shop sits in a dip on the road so we had no hope! The properties on the other side of the street, as you can see from the second picture were not hit so badly.

I moved a lot of low level stock upstairs during the day before we sandbagged the shop and went home. This was a good move as we lost very little fabric....
But all our shelving and cutting table have had to be dumped. Being mdf or chipboard the water soaked right into them.
It was very emotional watching the council take my entire shop away!
So we are left with this - for now! Goodness only knows how far back they have to strip the shop out - I really don't want to lose the floor but as I said - not my call now!

 We shall be moving all the stock into storage to keep it safe while the work takes place. This means no online shop, but I have had a massive sort out and there will be lots of flash sales this month with fabric and haberdashery at cost or less than cost price.

I have had to dispel a few rumours that inevitably have been floating around town since this happened. I'm not reopening, I am reopening but in a different place....neither true!!
We most definitely will be back, same shop only new and sparkly and giving me the opportunity to put right the things that were niggling me - workshops and groups, bad stock choices etc etc!

Ive always struggled trying to decide if this blog needs to be more personal, I find it hard just to stick to business stuff, I'm not remotely secretive and obviously the business slides over into family time a lot!!I have deleted this bit twice but I am going to leave in,

On a personal note, I have been devastated.

I built Patch up from nothing. I am not a naturally pushy person and Patch has evolved and grown from offering fabric lovers in Lowestoft a good choice of stock and a friendly service. I love what I do and so do Leanne and Sheona, I truly believe this shows in how Patch is run.

I have only just, almost 3 years on, got some kind of balance with work and home. I was taking days off, I was only spending 1 evening a week on the computer instead of 6 or 7 - you get the picture!

Financially our family have juggled everything to make this work. And I was/am still putting all profits back into the business to make it what I wanted it to be.

Yes I was insured. To be honest its only a tiny consellation..it isn't as simple as I lost x amount of stock so I get x pounds back to replace it. Its more like I lost x amount so I can have x minus y and plus b and minus a!!! And not to mention that I haven't traded now since early December...Don't get me wrong we are not starving but I was hoping that this year I could perhaps have something to show for my 40+ hour weeks!!!

My marriage suffered to get the business where it was, my relationship with my children suffered - actually that's probably not true, my guilt at never being there was the main issue.

I now feel I am going to have to go back there and to be brutally honest the thought of doing this again makes me feel sick.

I'm not looking for anybodys sympathy (But there are a few folks who could do with an injection of empathy!!!!!)
God we are so very very lucky. Our house is dry and family are safe. And I am certainly not comparing my plight to other people in this town who couldn't spend Christmas in their own homes.

But I will do it all again...and its just going to have to be different this time! My extended Christmas break is now over - a Christmas break that I wasn't able to just forget it was happening as I would have liked!! Insurance companies like to ring on Christmas Eve and ask you questions your landlord needs to answer and wonder why you cant help!!

On Thursday I will be moving into storage, then working from home for the next few weeks, the shop phone is diverted to my mobile and I will be trying very hard to keep up.

Thanks for reading if you got to the end of this!!!
Please be patient with us, we will be back as soon as we can be.
Happy New Year X


  1. I do empathise. We have in the past been a victim of flood, all be it a small one ( garden and cellar under several foot of water), but even though as you say it was not your home, as the mother of a couple who sometimes work 60+ hours at week to make a living from their small business, I can imagine how utterly devastated they would be in the same situation. I do hope that you can soon start rebuilding your business and that 2014 holds better things for you and your family. Jenny x

  2. I have no doubt that you will soon be back, wishing you and yours all the best. After a roller coaster of a year I'm looking forward to seeing you all back behind the counter of patch, I've missed popping in over the last few weeks.
    Wishing you lots of luck, a touch of patience as I'm sure you'll need it at some point!!! And raising a large glass of wine-Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing the return of Patch xxx Emma xxx

  3. I hope 2014 will be a great year for you and that somehow you will find joy in re-building your business. Choosing new things and new ways is a little bit exciting too, right? All the experience from the past years isn't gone and it will help you make better choices I'm sure :) xo

  4. Wow, I reckon youve dealt with this all very camly. Heres hoping that you will be back on your feet soon and that 2014 will be your best year yet.

  5. I can't imagine how gutting it must be to see all your hard work literally swept away. Like you say it gives you chance to review everything you've done to date and make decisions which will really bring you back bigger and stronger than before. I wish you the best of luck with it all x

  6. I remember when you first started patch and how much you have achieved in such a short space of time. I wish you all the very best for 2014 and I'm sure with your grit and determination and with friends and family behind you patch will be bigger and better than before xx keep your chin up xx

  7. Dear Clare.. You have created a very special shop and Alice and I are so excited to have found you.
    Stay strong.. your new sparkly Patch will be amazing and we are all looking forward to its arrival.. This period while you are waiting for dates, figures, problems to be resolved must be so hard as much may be out of your control.. but it will pass. Keep looking for the good in the bad.. it will be there. Best wishes, Michaela

  8. What an awful thing to have happen to you. I really hope 2014 offers up much better things for you.

  9. I'm so sorry - I can't imagine the mental energy it must take to build yourself up to starting from scratch when it had cost you so much in time and energy to get to the point you were at. But I'm so pleased that you are going to carry on and that you managed to save so much of your fabric. I've just seen that you're selling lots of it off on Instagram - I hope you enjoy choosing new ranges to stock once the shop is ready again. Thinking of you & hoping that it's less stressful and tiring than you're imagining (I found my second child much easier because I knew what I was doing - hopefully the same might be true of shops!), Florence x


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