Cornish businesses find 'bright spots' amid coronavirus lockdown uncertainty

Many sectors in Cornwall are struggling during this Covid-19 pandemic - tourism, hospitality and manufacturing are some facing the toughest of times, but there are some businesses finding new ways to forge ahead.

Wildanet are one of the Cornish companies that’s seen an influx of new customers wanting access to their guaranteed superfast internet.

Most of them are people needing to work from home for the first time. Founder, Ian Calvert, says their sales have gone up by around 10%.

It’s been a very surreal time, we looked into how we were going to manage it when it first appeared and put all sorts of provisions in place, but ultimately we’ve kept going and our engineers are out there installing, our sales have actually gone up. A lot of people are at home, trying to work and amuse the children and they really need the extra bandwidth.

Ian Calvert, Founder, Wildanet
Wildanet have seen a 10% rise in new customers amid the pandemic. Credit: Wildanet

England’s only tea grower has also had some success during this period, Jonathon Jones, Tregothnan’s managing director, believes more people are having a brew to help them keep calm and carry on.

Some of the workforce at the estate, based near Truro, continue picking, packing and sending tea by post and online sales have soared.

Tea plantation at the Tregothnan Estate. Credit: ITV News

Overall this is a pretty scary time for a lot of people in Cornwall and around the country but overall there’s a lot of bright spots to enjoy, people are coming together in a remote way, they’re talking more than perhaps they have for a long time.

Jonathon Jones, Tregothnan Estate
Jonathon Jones in the Tregothnan tea plantation. Credit: ITV News

Jonathon Jones remains optimistic about what’s next.

Thinking about what we eat and drink which is good for us and I think long-term people are thinking about provenance; so they’re thinking OK, let’s buy British flowers, let’s buy tea grown in England. So, the Cornwall Food & Drink scene, it will be difficult, but ultimately it will come out stronger.

Jonathon Jones, Managing Director of trading, Tregothnan
Tregothnan's online tea sales are up by 12%. Credit: ITV News

With the majority of cafes, hotels and restaurants still closed, Westcountry Fruit Sales based near Falmouth, who usually supply the catering trade, have switched their entire business to supplying food for people at home.

We’re certainly not trading at levels we were trading at, but delivering to people's homes and providing that immediacy of product has been really pleasing for us as a business and we'll carry on doing that as long as people out there would like to be able to access local food.

Roger Rossignol, Westcountry Fruit Sales
Roger Rossingol stacks shelves at Westcountry Fruit Sales. Credit: ITV News

Despite some successes, all of these businesses are looking forward to a time when trading returns to some semblance of normality.