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Checking In: A3 Babybarn

As is the case with many other retailers, independent nursery retailers have had to close to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. PreschoolNews.net speaks with Sam Dickman, manager of A3 Babybarn in Surrey to see how they are dealing with the current situation.

Firstly, how are you and your team?

We are doing OK thank you given the different circumstances we find ourselves in. We are taking each day as it comes and doing our utmost to work with our customers as best we can.

Above: Sam and the team at the Progressive Preschool Awards 2019, where they won Best Independent Nursery Retailer.
Above: Sam and the team in happier times at the Progressive Preschool Awards 2019, where they won Best Independent Nursery Retailer.

What is the current state of play for your shop – are you managing to stay open for online and telephone orders?

As a destination store we don’t have a website customers can order from, but we are still taking telephone orders and we can arrange collection from the store, or delivery for the items (contactless obviously!) We have a lot of customers with outstanding orders we are still fulfilling, plus we are taking new orders as well. We are more or less available 24/7 to our customers by phone, e mail or Facebook messenger which is reassuring for parents who have questions about the products they are interested in.

What is the current demand like – are you still as busy?

We have been at the shop for about an hour so far this morning and we have taken three or four orders already! So, yes we are still busy. We are posting on Facebook regularly to ensure our customers are kept up to date with what we have in stock and who is in the shop each day.

Above: A3 Babybarn is closed but the team are working hard to fulfil new and existing telephone orders.
Above: A3 Babybarn is closed but the team are working hard to fulfil new and existing telephone orders.

Have you seen any spike in demand for any particular product?

Not really since we had to close the shop to customers, however we found that after the closure of Mothercare stores that we were beginning to get a lot more add-on orders from customers, such as muslins and cot-sheets and this is continuing to some extent now as well.

Are there any suppliers that are going out of their way to help at the moment?

We have a great relationship with all our suppliers and they are all going out of their way to help where they can and have been in regular contact with us during this time. Lots of WhatsApp messages have been sent and Facetime calls have been made since this has been going on!

With the whole industry hoping for a baby-boom in late 2020, are you hopeful for a busy second half of the year once consumers can start visiting shops again?

Yes I do think a baby-boom is likely which will be great for us. With how busy we have still been during this time we are looking forward to when this is all over, so we can open again and start seeing our customers face-to-face. Although, we have had many video calls with customers to talk about certain products and for car seats demos; plus some grandparents have also been in the calls as well from their houses, so it has been good fun still being able to offer this experience for families during this time.

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