Easter Competition: Bruntsfield and Morningside local businesses highlight power of community after a year in lockdown

More than one year on from the beginning of lockdown, an end is finally in sight as restrictions begin to ease.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 10:00 am

The public health crisis has led to previously unimaginable circumstances for the economy - mass business closures, deserted cities and towns, tens of thousands of workers sitting idle on furlough and whole industries contemplating their future.

While the events of the past year under coronavirus restrictions have left no one’s life untouched, the hardest hit economically has been small, local businesses which are at the heart of our communities and have been forced to adapt their working practices often single handedly.

They are the businesses which brighten their local communities with personable familiar faces, tailored services, and bring something unique to our high streets and have persisted in the face of adversity.

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Local businesses in Bruntsfield and Morningside have shown how they have adapted over lockdown over the past year and have thanked their communities for sticking by them. (Pic: The Little Felt Shop)

As the weather brightens and Easter has come around, there is now a set route out of the lockdown which has greatly impacted all of our lives for the past year.

To show their gratitude for their community throughout this tumultuous and uncertain time, and to give back to their clientele who have supported their businesses throughout the changes lockdown has brought, several local businesses in Bruntsfield and Morningside have pulled together to donate prizes for an Easter competition with the Evening News.

Local businesses Maddie and Mark’s Shoe Shop, Spektakular, Rosy Penguin, Edward and Irwyn Artisan Chocolate and the Little Felt Shop have each taken on the challenge during lockdown to adapt their business to suit their customers, by offering virtual appointments, starting online shops, with one even giving up their physical bricks and mortar shop after ten years to go online only.

Now, each shop has donated a spectacular prize and has given Evening News readers the exclusive chance to win.

The Little Felt Shop, owned by Jay Miles, has seen her 'kitchen table' business explode over lockdown as she has been creating flat kits for kids and adults who have been keen to pick up new hobbies and activities during lockdowns throughout the year

To enter all you must do is the answer Easter question for the shops, which are noted below, and email the answers to [email protected] by April 7 who will then pick one winner for each shop to win their special prize.

The Little Felt Factory

Jay Miles began her business from her kitchen table which has grown alongside her young children, but during lockdown while children across the country have been off school her business has taken on a new lease of life as people have been searching for new hobbies and crafts to preoccupy their time.

“I’m a one man band and lockdown has completely changed my business,” she said, “I’ve been making lots of different kits and something to suit everyone, there’s ones for kids which are easier and ones which are a bit more fiddly for adults but they keep people busy and it’s quite therapeutic.

Maddie & Mark's Childrens Shoe Shop has been helping its customers adapt to virtual viewings and fittings and teaching parents how to fit their kids' feet at home throughout lockdown.

“One of the nicest bits of feedback I received was from a mum who said it was just nice to have something away from work, and kids, and housework to focus on with one of my kits and gave her a bit of time out.”

As well as felt making kits, she has also worked on felt commissions such as garlands.

For the competition, Jay has donated some Easter-themed felt craft kits.

Easter Question 1: Who wrote the tale of Peter Rabbit?

Charlotte Brink of Spektakulär closed her physical shop in February after 10 years on Colinton Road. She is now running her shop online only and committed to bringing the local community feel online. (Pic: Emma Burnett / @emmakburnettphotography)

Maddie and Mark’s Childrens Shoe Shop

Jen Wilson took on Maddie and Mark’s Shoe Shop in 2019 and while the shop has remained closed through much of lockdown, she and her team have adapted the store to still bring a high quality service to their customers.

“We’ve been operating a click and collect service, doing remote fittings and offering people the chance to borrow a gage to measure at home and try on items at home,” she said, “Lockdown has shown us how much people really trust us and rely on us to measure feet, it’s a new skill set for many of our customers and we have helped walk them through it.”

In anticipation of reopening Jen has made sure the shop is kitted out with vibrant stock and the shop has even had a refit.

“I feel so supported by the community,” she added, “from people waving and tapping on the door, it’s been a sense that people want to get back to normality and I’m hoping this will be a reboot of supporting local businesses.”

Maddie and Mark’s have donated a £25 voucher as a prize.

Rosy Penguin opened its online store during lockdown and has been working hard to offer their personalised service online through Instagram lives, online style advice and events.

Easter Question 2: What happens to the clocks in Spring?

Spektakular

After a decade on Colinton Road, Scandinavian lifestyle shop Spektakular has given up their bricks and mortar shop to move completely online. Owner Charlotte Brink made the decision to close up in February so has taken on the task of learning the ropes of being an online seller.

“It’s a very big thing,” she said, “A small shop is really part of a community and people like to come in and touch, smell and chat, it’s all about the experience and going online is so different it;s a big challenge but I’m learning and still trying to make it just as personal and happy.”

Going online, Charlotte found a whole new community of Swedes who hadn’t made it home over the Christmas period so her business has expanded online, sending goods from Shetland all the way to the South.

“We’ve had such great support during lockdown, when we had the shop people came to see us provided they could and long queues have shown people really want to shop local.”

Spektakular are offering the winner two Moomin enamel mugs.

Easter Question 3: What bun is traditionally eaten on Good Friday?

Rosy Penguin

Popular contemporary women’s shop Rosy Penguin has also had to adapt to the digital world, and set up an online shop during lockdown.

Judith Campbell from Rosy Penguin said: “We’ve all been going through a journey together, us and the customers. It’s completely different, my manager Ruth is constantly full time learning the IT skills and I’ve had to embrace social media and maintain the community online. We’ve been doing live Instagrams, social media style advice, and online events and have made an effort to maintain a community online.

“Small local businesses really enhance where people live, there’s a real sense of community from our customers and in the same way we can tailor things and make our service more personal.”

As a prize, Rosy Penguin are donating a prize of allowing the winner to visit with two friends for a personalised style session.

Easter Question 4: Easter Island is part of which country?

Edward & Irwyn Artisan Chocolate Shop

One of Edinburgh’s best known artisan chocolatiers is famed for its unique and unusual flavours, such as juniper, Scots pine and smoked salt or beetroot, blood orange and vanilla, all inspired by the north. Edda Holt and Kirsty Irvine the duo of chocolate wizards, working from a small kitchen in Edinburgh’s Morningside. The creative duo make all of their chocolate and confectionery are all made entirely by hand and every batch is tempered on marble in the true artisan tradition for a smooth texture with a glossy finish and the hallmark snap of real chocolate. While they have been unable to open their store to welcome in chocolate fans throughout lockdown they have adapted by taking orders entirely online - a bit different from the long queues seen outside their store at Christmas and on Valentines day.

For the competition, Edward & Irwyn are donating a selection of delectable easter treats for a lucky winner.

Easter Question 5: On what street in New York does the city’s famous Easter parade take place?

Answer Easter questions 1 to 5 and email [email protected] with the answers by 00:01 April 7 to be in with a chance of winning one of the prizes generously donated by local retailers.

Edward & Irwyn Chocolatiers, famed for their unusual and unique flavours inspired by the North have continued to push their popular treats and gifts online throughout lockdown