Although we began the process long before Covid-19, we did end up trying to complete in the middle of a global pandemic. The pandemic was a new situation for everyone and we were initially keen to continue and complete the process.
Then of course, (like all banks) HSBC pulled their lending products from the market and for a time, it looked like the deal was off. At that point, I thought it was all gone and there was no way that we could continue; we just had to try and switch off from it and concentrate on running the business through the early stages of lockdown.
Surprisingly, we traded slightly better through lockdown than we did beforehand. The lockdown period actually helped us as a business because it strengthened our online presence; the online side went ballistic and we came out the other side with stronger listings and sales continued. As trade customers started to come back they started placing orders as well and we had three record months on the bounce.
Throughout that lockdown period, Adam and I remained in contact, talking every week about what could be done. Adam worked really hard to look at alternative funding options when HSBC initially said ‘no’ but it was great that HSBC eventually came back on board. It is clear that the team at Shorts are extremely knowledgeable in what they do. As someone who has never done this sort of thing before, I needed a team who would guide me through the process and they were always there whenever I needed help or advice.
As I see it, any accountant could put a set of figures together but it was finding a way to make it happen especially towards the end of the process where Shorts really excelled. So it has been a great team effort and a great partnership between not just myself and Shorts but between Bell & Buxton and Shorts, a three-way team to get a very difficult deal done.