How Arklow’s Victorian Tea Times are tackling covid-19

This week we have Audrey Whelan and her granddaughter Karla Tracey from Avoca, the pair run Victorian Teatimes in Arklow and explain what impact Covid-19 has had on their little enterprise which was just getting off the ground and how they are turning the tables.

By Audrey Whelan and Karla Tracey.

We at Victorian Tea Times, like so many other small local businesses, have had to adjust our business radically over the last number of months. From the cosy setting of our Victorian Afternoon Tea shop on Main Street, Arklow, we could never have predicted the changes that 2020 brought. Heading into our second year of business, we were finally starting to gain momentum and our little business was finally starting to spread its wings.

Ladies and gentlemen from all over Ireland and countries abroad travelled to us to bask in the Victorian ambiance that we have created here on Main Street. From the moment our guests enter behind the red velvet curtains, they are transported to a bygone time.

Parkour Maids dressed in Victorian costume welcome them, take their coats and show them to the dressing room, which is brimming with Victorian Gowns, head pieces, pearls and ruby rings. Our dressing rooms offers up top hats and tail coats for our gentlemen guests too. After many a picture opportunity, guests are invited to take their seats as their afternoon tea is served. The experience is one of a kind, an unforgettable treat.

With the impact of COVID-19, we have had to close the door on our Victorian portal, but we remain hopeful. Hopeful that the people of Arklow will continue to shop local, that the tourists will slowly return, and hopeful that we can continue to enjoy our work at Victorian Tea Times.

The Arklow Chamber and District have been a vital resource for businesses that are reopening, continuously promoting the #LoveArklow initiative and showcasing what our small but mighty town has to offer. We were thrilled to be a small part of their #BackSoon initiative also, and welcome all of their advice.

COVID-19 has forced many businesses, including ours, to adapt in ways we never thought possible. We are so proud of our Quarantine Tea design, which is proving to be popular not just in Arklow, but in surrounding counties. Never did we think when we opened Victorian Tea Times that we would one day be offering an afternoon tea delivery service!

In ways, we are grateful for the time we have had to think, plan, evaluate and develop our little business. With so much in the pipeline, this pandemic has allowed us to further our business plans and think outside the box.

We look forward to opening the doors of 37a Main Street soon, and hope to welcome you there with open arms. But for now, we will be #BackSoon

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