"I want to see more faces coming back in": Preston cake shop calls for more support for local businesses

The cake store in Cadley, Preston is one of many local business who are still feeling the effects of the pandemic.
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The owner of Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes in Preston has taken to social media to express surprise at the shop's low footfall, and calls for local people to support small businesses as the effects of coronavirus remain ongoing.

In an unusual move, Kelly Kirkby, who opened Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes on Blackpool Road in March 2018, posted a status on Facebook admitting that her store has seen a reduction in numbers these past few months, compared to previous years, and asked her followers why this was the case.

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Kelly, a 35 year old mother of two from Ashton-on-Ribble, told the Post: "The next 12 months will be a record 12 months for us in terms of the custom side, so I wasn’t going to put my post on asking for feedback because I didn't want it to look like I was begging, but I just think it’s a taboo for small businesses, we all shout when we’re really busy and we take pictures of queues, but no one actually says when it is quiet and we should all speak up because that’s when people support other people.

Kelly Kirkby, owner of Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes is calling on the public to support local businesses.Kelly Kirkby, owner of Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes is calling on the public to support local businesses.
Kelly Kirkby, owner of Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes is calling on the public to support local businesses.

"I only started a year before covid, and I got through what I thought was the hardest part, and then we did notice that summer was quiet, but it’s rolled into September, which is normally a busy period for us, so I wanted to get some feelers from my customers to see what it was and some of the answers were quite reassuring, but it was also surprising to see that other businesses said that they were the same, a fishing shop said it, and so did some other cake and dessert bars too.

"So having had some some feedback from other businesses owners, I just would really like local people to continue supporting small businesses because people think covid is over but the backlash of it is actually still affecting these small businesses now."

Kelly's post was also shared by Cadley Councillor John Potter, who urged his constituents to continue supporting businesses like Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes, which he visited himself the next day.

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John said: “As we come out of the pandemic, lots of small local businesses, start ups and new ventures will be facing a range of challenges. As a sole trader myself, I understand that every extra client or customer can make the difference.

Kelly opened Sugar Wishes Cakes & Cupcakes in Preston three years ago.Kelly opened Sugar Wishes Cakes & Cupcakes in Preston three years ago.
Kelly opened Sugar Wishes Cakes & Cupcakes in Preston three years ago.

“From everyday items like your meat and veg to gifts and presents there are loads of local traders you can support. During lockdown I discovered an independent coffee roasting company right here in Preston that delivers directly to your door. So whether it’s coffee, cake, candles or cabbages you can try to support local businesses.”

Following Kelly's Facebook post, Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes actually had a sell out following day, a trend she hopes continues for both herself and her fellow local businesses.

Taking to Facebook, Kelly wrote: "Thank you all for your feedback yesterday, we were super busy and your support means the world", whilst adding "but I hope every small business get busier as we thought we had gotten through the tough part."

You can visit Sugar Wishes Cakes and Cupcakes at 418 Blackpool Road, Preston, or go to their Facebook page.