Chocolate factory looks past Covid-19 to Christmas with Lloyds Bank support
A chocolate producer whose products are enjoyed by visitors to tourist attractions throughout Europe, has secured a six-figure funding package from Lloyds Bank to help continue its operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Calico Cottage, based in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire, was established in 1989 and sells fudge-making systems to customers across the UK and Europe. Its sister company, The Cambridge Confectionery Company, manufactures and sells handmade chocolate from a second factory in Cambridgeshire.
The firm’s products are also sold in a wide range of outlets from garden centres and farm shops to gift shops.
Due to the UK-wide lockdown imposed by the government, many of the retailers that sell confectionery products are currently closed, affecting Calico Cottage’s cashflow. Meanwhile, with June normally the time when the company begins production ahead of Christmas, it required funding support.
The business is however well placed to offer its customers flexibility in supply when they re-open. This will be essential in an unpredictable retail climate should customers be nervous about holding large stocks and placing orders months in advance of Christmas.
Nigel Baker, managing director of Calico Cottage, said: “We’re all experiencing and living through an extremely unusual set of circumstances. Many of our seasonal customers are closed or operating a reduced online offer. As a manufacturer of chocolate and fudge making ingredients, we rely on income from people visiting shops and seasonal peaks like Christmas.
“Thanks to the quick response and support from Lloyds Bank we now have the flexibility to start focusing on long-term orders, including Christmas, and ensure that we can hold stock whilst working with customers to help them re-start and plan for Christmas. Having this support has been invaluable and we can now start preparing for what we hope will be a busy end to the year.”
Alongside the six-figure funding package from Lloyds Bank, via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Calico Cottage has agreed a six-month repayment holiday to support cashflow.
Stephen Clarke, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said “The current lockdown has had a huge impact on businesses that rely on the footfall and sales of customers to secure income.
“For manufacturers like Calico Cottage, working months in advance is the norm, but they need to have a healthy cashflow in place to plan ahead. We are supporting businesses like this to ease the impact on their income during this challenging time, enabling them to continue trading and planning for the year ahead.”