Tell us a little bit about The Bears Trading
The Bears Trading Company opened in 2016 and evolved during a holiday to California. We saw the building in Tankerton was available for rent and approached the landlady the day before our flight. We were actually boarding the plane at 8.20am when the call came saying she had decided on us! Well after an eleven hour flight, a rough business plan was written, budgets set and ideas bubbling ready for our return. While on holiday we visited Yosemite National Park and all plans went completely out of the window! We collect Bears, (arctophiles) it just seemed like the right progression to sell them as the house was very overcrowded, the property had mixed retail and food use, so The Bears Trading Company was born and we welcome all ages to our slice of Beartopia!
Since then we have grown into the building and expanded outwards, opening a beautiful south facing garden with seating for 80 covers. We offer a small but traditional tea room menu, wonderful drinks, homemade treats and ice creams to tempt all ages. During the winter months the log burners roar and chatter fills the air. We are dog friendly for well-behaved pooches, children must be on leads, it is a joke but…
Why did you choose Tankerton to open your business?
We had been looking for our next challenge, both of us were in jobs that demanded our attention more and more and we decided we wanted to change our work, life balance. Its not all about working so hard for others and knowing you are not appreciated, you become just a number and are easily replaced (supposedly). Being born in Castle Road and growing up in the main town, Tankerton has always been a place close to my heart. It is so relaxed, with a more village community feel, large wide open forecourts and the seafront literately seconds away, what better place to start a business. We can see Tankerton’s future is bright and will continue to be supported by our wonderful customers, not just at The Bears but for all of the other independent businesses who we are proud to be able to call friends.
What has kept you busy over lockdown?
Family, and that includes our pets who play a big role in our lives. Sadly we have just recently lost one of our treasured dogs, Pippin, who came to work with us every day from starting the business. I think this is going to be very hard not having her there when we return, but I know we will be ok. Lassie, her sister will look forward to all of the fuss when we do return, she likes the attention!
Although we are not able to run events this hasn’t stopped us from planning them in readiness for when we can, working with other businesses who make up The Talk of Tankerton we have delivered some great projects and small events even during these tough restrictions. From VE Day bunting to our wonderful Christmas lights display and under extreme circumstances we even managed to hold our Christmas Market despite the original date being cancelled as it fell within the second national lockdown. With Easter fast approaching we have a surprise in store for the community, also we are going to start a regular Sunday Market to run during the summer. Keep an eye on the Talk of Tankerton Facebook page and also our own page.
What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?
Getting back to normality! Welcoming guest into the shop, talking and putting the world to rights again, no politics though, that is firmly banned inside The Bears! We cannot wait to hear the shop become alive again with chatter, for friends and families to meet with no restrictions, for people to enjoy being sociable. It is not natural to be couped up, we are a species that naturally group together to socialise, although as a Bear I do like to hibernate a little too…!
Another big thing is getting back to organising community events for Tankerton as part of The Talk of Tankerton group, we miss the buzz around the community events, its hard work but at the end of the day, we, along with the other businesses, like to give something back. Without the community support we would not still be able to run our little businesses.
How will you keep your customers safe on their return?
We have always put the safety of our staff and customers first, we introduced the wearing of masks inside the shop when we reopened in August well before it became mandatory by the government. There is always hand sanitiser available and we carry out extra cleaning between guests with all tables and chairs cleaned thoroughly. A queuing system had been implemented outside to allow for the safe seating of guests inside the main building.
We have reduced all of our seating down by over half inside and out, giving more space between guests. We will wait and see what other conditions are to be put in place when we reopen our doors again in April/May.
How can customers support you right now?
Subject to weather, we are open at the weekends from 11am to 3pm for takeaway drinks, cakes and homemade scones which can be ordered at the door. You can still order our gifts via online, which Julie has kindly added to her Polkadot page (our neighbouring shop). We can also take orders via email or over the telephone with collection from the shop or free local delivery available.
We are going to offer a Mothering Sunday High Tea, keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details of prices and options. Other than that, just get ready to be welcomed back into The Bears very soon, there will still be restrictions set by the government to which we do not, at this stage, the extent of these restrictions, but you can be assured we will be ready and your safety will be priority to us. We are so looking forward to welcoming you back to our slice of Beartopia in the heart of Tankerton.
Big bear hugs and love from us all at The Bears Trading Company.