A BUSINESS owner has said there are still many challenges to face despite reopening as his shop battles the combined issues of lockdown and Brexit.

The Cheap Shop is a family-run crafts and fabric store in Tiptree which has been in the village for more than 50 years.

Like many small businesses across the country, the shop has had its share of obstacles but hopes to overcome them as the third national lockdown eases.

Barry Wiffen, 56, runs The Cheap Shop in Tiptree with his brother, Chris.

Barry said: “The first lockdown was me, my wife and my brother for a few weeks at first. It was hell – we were working evening and even seven days a week.

“We had to furlough staff but most of them came back.

“We managed a team to do mail order and click-and-collect and we put a lot of effort into our website to add more products.

“It was pretty chaotic, the first lockdown.

The Cheap Shop in Tiptree

The Cheap Shop in Tiptree

“The last lockdown has gone on for far too long and its just hurt us financially.

“Our customers were desperate to come back into the shop.

“We’re a bit of a destination store – people come from a long way to get to us. We get people from Southend, Suffolk and even London because there’s not many like us.

“We are lucky the village is a destination spot so to get people back in would be great.”

As well as dealing with the issues of lockdown restrictions, Brexit has also affected the business, making it more difficult to send items abroad to places like France or Spain.

Barry described it as being “between a rock and a hard place”.

“We can still send the big order out, but the couriers are now hiding behind the surcharges,” he added.

“We’ve had situations where it gets to the other side and the duty isn’t paid so the delivery is refused.

“It means it has to come back to us, but it doesn’t always which has caused us a bit of a nightmare.

“We also have five or six big European suppliers which supply to us and they are in the same boat: they do not understand it and how it’s going to affect them.”

The store has amended its opening times to keep a balance between the physical shop and the online store.