COVID-19 Forces Gut Check for Local Business

By Skills Hub - 06th July 2020

The coronavirus crisis has seen one door close and another open for Skills Hub client and Cornish food fermenter, Caitlin Walsh.

Her business, Delea Fermented Foods, may have seen its bricks and mortar coffee house close but the past few weeks have seen Caitlin bounce back with an offering of products to be sold both online and at a number of local markets across Cornwall.

“It became sink or swim for me. In March I had to close the coffee house as I was sub-letting, and I didn’t qualify for any government help available. I decided to focus on the fermented food aspect and sign up for as many markets as I could, as I knew these would be the first thing to come back after the lockdown,” Caitlin said.

Finding out about the Skills Hub thanks to a conversation with Cornwall Council, Caitlin has been working with Skills Connector Ian Watkiss to review the gaps that need filling in order to see her fermented food sales flourish.

“Ian and everyone at the Skills Hub has been incredibly helpful, as it has been quite overwhelming in shifting my business direction It’s nice to have the extra support and be pointed in the right direction of where I can access help,” she said.

Caitlin believes that if there is one positive to come from COVID-19 it is that people are looking closer to home for their food, avoiding the big supermarkets and shopping more locally.

“I was a bit nervous about selling foods with live bacteria, as fermented foods are about working with live products as we have to live in symbiosis with them. But we are starting to appreciate local food a lot more, and people have got to know what is on their doorstep,” Caitlin said.

The coming months will see Caitlin undergoing training in digital marketing, sales and bookkeeping, while also managing a market stall and focusing on her online store.

“I am really passionate about fermented foods, promoting gut health and re-introducing ancient foods into our modern diet. The big thing for me is having a market stall that is financially viable, as well as the social media and marketing side of the business. I had done it all myself previously, so having the freedom to learn new skills is exciting,” she said.

If you are a small business owner and need help improving your digital skills or bookkeeping, or whatever else may be on your to-do list, the Skills Hub can help. A FREE Skills Review by one of our Skills Connectors will see us get beneath the skin of your business to uncover the skills you need – now and into the future – and introduce you to training to get results.

Call Claire on 01209 708 660 to find out more about how the Skills Hub can help, or drop us a line via the Get In Touch tab at the top of our website.

Ian and everyone at the Skills Hub has been incredibly helpful, as it has been quite overwhelming in shifting my business direction It’s nice to have the extra support and be pointed in the right direction of where I can access help.

Caitlin Walsh - Delea Fermented Foods
Woman on a tablet illustration