Sheffield University’s Students’ Union helping small businesses bloom again

20 May 2021

The University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union is working with local businesses to help them recover from the pandemic.

Coffee Revolution, their independent coffee shop, began selling plants from Walkley-based shop Feels Like Home on Monday.

Mark Broadhurst, joint owner of Feels Like Home with his wife Marie, said: “It’s massively, massively important for local businesses to support one another at the moment.

“Everybody’s struggled during the pandemic, so it’s essential everyone works together to generate a buzz and an income for each other.”

When the pandemic began, Mr and Mrs Broadhurst had to quickly move their plant business online and began offering a delivery service. 

Mrs Broadhurst, 44, said: “Running a business during the pandemic has been very different from what we expected.

“It was hard, but it was also very good for us because people wanted to improve their homes and we were able to help by offering our new delivery service. 

“It helped us to get over the problems we didn’t even know we had until that point.”

Mrs Broadhurst said open communication with customers and always being available has been the key to keeping their business going during these difficult times.

She said: “Older people prefer traditional telephone conversations, and others might message you on Instagram at 11 o’clock at night.

“It’s all about being extremely flexible to get the business you need to keep moving forwards.”

Coffee Revolution discovered Feels Like Home on Instagram and approached them about working together.

“They were looking to provide students with small, easy-to-care-for plants they can pick up alongside their coffee and cakes,” said Mr Broadhurst, 46.

It’s unsurprising Coffee Revolution has chosen to support a local plant shop, as there has been a significant increase in the popularity of houseplants over lockdown.

The Royal Horticultural Society recorded more than one million visits to its online gardening advice pages in the first nine days of lockdown, with a 533% increase in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds visiting the site.

Written by Katie Wheatley

Fashion Editor at Liberty Belle Magazine. Co-host of the Just Us Three Podcast. Trainee Journalist at the University of Sheffield. Twitter: @_KatieWheatley

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