Small Business Saturday Blog

No messing around! How Tom Foolery Coffee Company pivoted during the pandemic

Friday, December 04 at 07:30

Like many small businesses, the challenges of 2020 took Tom Foolery by surprise, but they bounced back fast with the support of their community in Shoreham-by-Sea.
Bob and Vanessa McCulloch always dreamed of doing something that would have a huge local impact, while celebrating their love of great coffee, delicious food, music and the arts.
Tom Foolery Coffee Company, which they opened in 2014, combines all of these passions. The ethos has always been to bring the best in locally sourced food and drink with a warm welcome. They serve their own blend of coffee - Fools Gold - developed in partnership with local suppliers Horsham Roasters, in their vibrant shop overlooking the River Adur.
Family friendly, dog friendly, and supportive of people working from home with free Wi-Fi, Tom Foolery has always had deep roots in the community. It is a core supporter of the Shoreham Light Show and family event and a key element of the annual Adur Arts Trail and Adur Wordfest. They have provided pop-up restaurant space for start-ups, and have a rolling programme of local art exhibitions, as well as hosting various speakers, shows and comedy nights. They are also a proud sponsor of the Shoreham and Adur Under 13 Girls Football League.
Of course, the impact of Covid-19 pandemic has brought challenges for these wonderful community initiatives, along with Tom Foolery itself.
After closing in the first lockdown – and reeling at the unprecedented situation – they knuckled down to create a plan, building a whole new counter at the front of the shop in the style of a food truck, and reopening with a fun summer festival style service and a new takeaway menu. Their customers have been really supportive and appreciated the efforts that Tom Foolery made as they pivoted their business model in these changing times.
While this worked brilliantly in the summer, the team has had to innovate for the winter weather.  Social distancing rules will mean a 30% reduction in revenue, so, to counter this, they have been developing a new retail element under the header #TakeTomHome. 
The shop is offering a branded range of t-shirts, aprons, and tea towels; a home cooked range including tomato ketchup, hot sauce, jams and fudges; and a range of equipment for coffee making, such as AeroPress and recyclable coffee pods.  They aim for this new range to complement what they currently do, close the 30% gap, and provide a springboard for the future. 
Tom Foolery has been working with American Express since it opened and appreciates the brand’s understanding and support of small businesses. It has taken part in the various AMEX initiatives, such as Shop Small with its ‘spend £10 get £5 back’ offer, which has proven popular with customers. 
Whether you’re popping by for coffee or cake, or a working lunch (when restrictions ease), Tom and Vanessa always aim to make a big impression for a small business. This has led to invaluable support from their community in 2020: they are clearly no fools!
Visit Tom Foolery at 6 High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea BN43 5DA or online here. Click here to find out more about the American Express Shop Small campaign.

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