£200,000 loan helps secure future of Hawick furniture store after lockdown

A long-established Hawick furniture store has been given a £200,000 bank loan to help prevent it joining the many businesses falling victim to the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

By Paul Kelly
Thursday, 9th July 2020, 2:25 pm
Marion and Bob Chrystie, owners of Chrysties in Hawick, with staff Derek Sharratt, Keith Hedley and Beth Jackson.
Marion and Bob Chrystie, owners of Chrysties in Hawick, with staff Derek Sharratt, Keith Hedley and Beth Jackson.

That vital support from the Royal Bank of Scotland has helped save 26 jobs previously at risk at family-owned Chrysties Furnishing Centre in Victoria Road.

The company, founded in 1990, was last month due to celebrate three decades of trading, but those celebrations have been put on hold for now as owner Bob Chrystie is just happy that the business has reopened after three months’ inactivity.

Customers are now being welcomed back, but strict social distancing and safety measures are in place.

Bob said: “We’ve actually taken on an extra member of staff since we opened up.

“We closed on March 23 and reopened on June 18.

“This loan is repayable over five years but the first 12 months is interest-free. It was a great help to get us through the shutdown period.

“All bar three of the staff were furloughed.

“We did 6% of our previous year’s banking in April and 4% in May.

“We do a have a website and we do sell a little bit online and we had customers in by appointment, just one at a time, so we did have a little bit of business, but not a huge amount.

“We’ve always been more of a bricks-and-mortar facility. It’s so important for our customers to come and see things in person and you can’t really replicate that online.

“It was tough to close up for the past few months. It must have been the first time I had a Saturday off in decades.

“If those figures had continued in the long run, it would have had a devastating impact on the business.

“A cashflow projection was actually done by the bank to the end of August and it was looking pretty horrendous.

“That was one of the problems – you just didn’t know how long you were going to be shut for.

“It’s been very good since we reopened. We have had great support from local people.”

He added: “We had big plans for the anniversary, but we have scrubbed all that because we don’t think it’s the time to be celebrating now.

“We’re just happy to have reopened. Maybe we’ll do it early next year.

“The funding process with the Royal Bank of Scotland was seamless, and everything was wrapped up in a matter of days.

“Their support was vital in helping us to keep jobs safe and also helped to fund the purchase of personal protective equipment we required to resume trading.

“I’m quite positive at the moment, but the big worry is of course a second coronavirus spike and we have to shut down again. I think that is at the back of everyone’s mind.”

Kenny White, a commercial relationship manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “We’ve been with Chrysties since the very beginning, and it’s been great to help them grow from strength to strength over the years. Here’s to the next 30 years of success.”