The Bears Trading Co.

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.

Lockdown Hospitality

Whilst we await the ease from Lockdown 3, our message is stay at home as much as possible and as well as all the established takeaway businesses many of our hospitality businesses are also offering a local delivery and/or takeaway service.
There is an array of choice so here are some links to look through not only will you receive a
fabulous meal but you are also supporting a local independent business survive through the
There are real people amongst the hardest hit industries and they need you more than ever and
after you have enjoyed your meal please take a few minutes to do a google review or on their social media, they really make a difference both for ratings and morale.
If you are collecting a takeaway please follow all social distancing guidelines, especially keeping 2metres apart in queues and wear masks. Make sure you wash your hands before leaving home and sanitise, repeat when you arrive back at home before eating.

In alphabetic order, please be aware that businesses may change their hours of trading so please use below as a guide and don’t forget all your usual takeaway businesses too

Annie’s Bistro 40 Oxford Street CT5 01227 908560 – Open for takeaway breakfast & lunches
including Sunday Roasts. FB Annie’s Bistro
Bangers and Balls 07517 404880 Offering special hampers of goodness, meals, goodies etc.

The Bears Trading Company:-134 Tankerton Rd 01227 264950 open at weekends for delicious cakes & hot drinks, you can also buy their retail products through the Polkadot website below too. Follow them on Facebook at The Bears Trading Company & Instagram @thebearstradingcompany

Café 89:- 93 Tankerton Road 01227 272133 open for takeaway coffee, filled baps, soup and cakes
Saturdays & Sunday 10.30 to 2.30 pm and you can also order takeout cream teas through the gift side website (and do some shopping at the same time)

Café Rio 47 High Street follow on FB Café Rio

Café and Kitchen:- 61 Harbour Street, CT5 1AG 01227 276941 – They are currently reviewing their food options and will be open varied hours for their fabulous Katsu menu and Sunday roasts from January 17th , follow them on Instagram @cafeandkitchen and their website

Farm & Harper:- 25 High Street CT5 1AP – offering takeaway brunches Friday to Sunday 9 till 2pm, Friday night amazing Burgers & Sunday Roasts 01227 264091

Gilberts of Whitstable:- pre order on 01227 273189 Open 9-2pm Monday to Saturday , breakfast,
brunch and lunch. They can also delivery your shopping list including fresh baked bread from
Wingham bakery & homemade ready meals follow on Instagram @gilbertsofwhitstable

Grain & Hearth:- 50 Oxford Street, CT5 1DG, Sandwiches, cake & coffee daily including their amazing Cruffins follow on Instagram @grainandhearth

Holy Mackerel:- or find on Instagram @holymackeralwhitstable delivering chilled prepped meals to your door at weekends

La Cocina :-5 High Street CT5 1AP 07554 419745 (inside The Offy) offering delicious Latin American food, follow on Instagram @la_cocina_whitstable or FB

Minno Kitchen:- 07730596154 delivering hot brunches & children’s freezer meals, whilst waiting for events to resume. Also on FB Minno Kitchen

Mucini: – 1-3 St Annes Road, CT5 2DN offering authentic Italian food takeaway service Wednesday to Saturday 5.30 to 7.30pm, pre ordering advised on 01227 277726
Nomad pizzas:- 76 High Street, 01227 771883 your award-winning pizza company, open daily from 5pm, with £ 3 delivery on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday with no minimum order. Tuesdays 2 pizzas for £ 18 GF bases for supp & Vegan options
Ossies Fish Bar:- 11 High Street, CT5 1AP Traditional fish & chips follow on Instagram @ossiesfishbar

The Pearson Arms:- Horsebridge Road, CT5 1BT 01227 773133 offering a Home delivery service
Thursday to Sundays. They are also offering a 3 course menu for Burns Night January 23rd & 24th and Valentines 13th & 14th February, follow on Instagram @pearsonsarms and under Pearson’s at Home in the menu

Sale Pepe:- 15 Harbour Street, CT5 1AQ 01227 908084 For delicious Italian food, pizzas and
especially their new homemade crab cakes! With free local delivery for every order placed on their website

Samphire:-4 High Street, CT5 1BQ 01227 770075 Open on Saturdays & Sundays 9 till 4pm for
brunch, coffee & snacks. Follow on Instagram samphire_whitstable or

The Ship Centurion:- 111 High Street Freshly cooked and frozen meals Thursday 3.30 – 7.00 pm and Sunday roasts 12-4 pm with free delivery to CT5 & collections see menus on Instagram@theshipwhit telephone: 07988878285

Sooshi Sushi : Home made sushi delivered to your door Wednesday to Saturday , follow on
Instagram @sooshi_sushi, menu in highlights , DM to order.
Tea and Times :- 36a High Street, CT5 1BQ 01227 262639 Currently open 7 days a week 9 till 3 for takeaways , you can phone ahead and order for a timed collection follow on Instagram @teaandtimes

Thai Orchid Whitstable 82 Middle Wall, CT5 1BN check opening times 01227 262165 offering deliveries and timed safe collection.

The Umbrella Café CIC:- 10 Oxford Street, CT5 1DD follow on
This amazing community café are on a much needed break but will resume their fabulous lunchtime & Friday night dinner offers mid to late January which all contribute to the community meals pay it forward scheme so follow on @theumbrellacafe on Instagram for updates. They are still working on the pantry project behind the scenes so for anyone requiring support and free meals please email them on

VC Jones 25 Harbour Street:- CT5 1AH serving Traditional fish & chips since 1962! and Instagram @vcjoneswhitstable

Victoria’s Café :-58 Canterbury Road CT5 4HD Pie & mash and more, Google for the menu and
ideally pre order on 01227 638377 follow on Instagram @victoriascafewhitstable

Wheelers Oyster Bar:- 8 High Street, CT5 1BQ 01227 272211 They also offer a CT5 CT6 delivery service to keep everyone safer. You can order fabulous chilled boxed meals to finish at home and their wonderful counter items too, follow on Instagram @wheelersob or

Waterman & Webb – Barbers

Waterman & Webb, Tankerton

While the basins remain dry and the chairs still, we find out what Tankerton hairdressers, Waterman & Webb have been doing during lockdown (a lot by the way!). While they await governments announcement of reopening, why not give them an #iPledge and support a great charity fundraiser they have for men’s mental health happening from February 22nd onwards?

Tell us a little bit about Waterman & Webb  

Waterman & Webb is a male lifestyle brand. Our main focus is on barbering but we also have our own hair and beard styling product range. We have also recently branched out into clothing. Waterman & Webb was born of myself, Oliver Waterman and Nicholas Webb in 2018 combining our experience in the male hair and fashion world. Between us, we have worked at some of the top salons in England and worked at all the major hair industry shows, as well as doing stints for Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and London Fashion Week. 

Why did you choose Tankerton to open your business?

We are both from Whitstable so when we decided to plant our flag in the ground and start our own brand, Tankerton was the best choice. Both our clienteles had grown in the local area and Tankerton was the centre point. Tankerton is ideal for a business like Waterman & Webb as there is plenty of parking close by to the premises, as well as other local coffee shops and brands that our customers can visit in a shortstop without having to park too far away.

What has kept you busy over lockdown?

We have been renovating the shop so this has taken some of our time, but we are also in the process of setting up our first academy. This has taken a lot of our time as we have been building courses and creating material. We have been supporting a few different charity initiatives. One we are supporting at the moment is called The Lions Barber Collective. They are a mental health charity which works within the barbershop environment. They teach barbers to talk to their customers on a deeper level to see if there are any signs of mental health issues. We are hosting an online FIFA 21 Playstation 4 tournament commencing the week 22nd February to raise funds for them – especially in these troubling times.  

What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?

We cannot wait to get back open. We have just gone through a renovation to get the Tankerton premises looking fresh and ready to welcome all customers back. There are so many plans that have been put on hold from the outbreak of the pandemic so we are looking forward to launching these. 

How will you keep your customers safe on their return?

We already have a good Covid safety response which we will carry on with until the government allow us to stop. We have taken multiple surveys since the pandemic started to make sure our customers are happy with our Covid response. We have a sanitation stand at our entrance as you walk in. We have always taken appointments since we opened in 2018 so that hasn’t changed for us, like many other salons. All staff wear the appropriate PPE when they’re cutting hair. All our gowns are steam cleaned between haircuts to make sure they are 100% sanitised and we also disinfect and sanitise all tools between haircuts.

How can your customers support you right now?

Any customers that want to support us at the moment can do some simple things such as follow our social media pages to keep up to date, share any of our social media posts on their social media and help us raise money for our FIFA tournament. 

If they would like to help us financially, our W&W Styling hair and beard product range is still available online on our website 

You can also purchase gift cards on our website for future services when we reopen. 

Flow & Co Hair

Mariano Ruiz – Flow & Co Hair
Hands up whose hair is showing signs of lockdown locks and are counting down the days
until they see their hairdresser again? Hairdressers have never felt so appreciated and
rightly so. We would love you to make a public #iPledge for your hairdresser to let them
know you can’t wait to see them again. In the meantime, while his scissors remain still, we
catch up with Mariano from Flow & Co hair, Whitstable.
Tell us a little bit about Flow & Co Hair.
Flow & Co is the beautiful boutique hair salon in the heart of Whitstable.
Our mission is to offer fabulous hairdressing, glamorous results and the friendliest service, all
wrapped up in a comfortable, stylish setting.
For us, every customer is special and so every hairdressing service is especially tailored to
what the customer wants. We listen and we deliver. We are very proud of our team of experts
as everyone is so different and creative when it comes to hair.
Why did you choose Whitstable to open your business
I loved Whitstable from the first moment. It was a love crush. At the time I was
teaching hairdressing for Estee Lauder and travelling around the UK and Europe. I was
preparing myself to start with their global team, but after a short holiday in Whitstable an
unexpected opportunity arose and I couldn’t resist the idea of living by the sea,
alongside having a wonderful team and doing what I love the most – hair!
What has kept you busy over lockdown?
After years working between Paris and Whitstable, I’ve just launched our very own haircare
range SHEWOLF; an exciting project that me and the team have been working tirelessly on with
the help of our customers. The quality products have been obsessively tested and are full of
the most delicious fragrances.  It was the perfect time to bring some joy and happiness during
the current situation on top of delivering fabulous hair! You can follow us @shewolfhaircare
What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?
I am looking forward to seeing our high street back to normal: our locals on the streets:going to our favourite restaurants and most of all seeing people around safely socialising
How will you keep your customers safe on their return?
Way back in July we prepared the salon with all the social distance measurements such as 2
metres distanced stations, dividers in between sections and backwashes and we split the team
into two. They have been phenomenal, keeping our very high standards while working endless
hours in full gear with all the PPE required. We feel the love and appreciation from our clients
as everyone feels safe, our clients and our team. We can’t wait to have all the team reunited
and see our wonderful customers.
How can customers support you right now?
The best way to support our business and our team is by purchasing haircare products from SHEWOLF and vouchers to be redeemed towards future appointments. This time round has been incredibly hard and every little help as a small business is much appreciated. It breaks my heart seeing shops closing down as your life and soul is in every single corner of your shop.

Sale & Pepe

A little slice of Sicily lies in Whitstable in the form of Italian restaurant Sale & Pepe. With restaurants riding the rollercoaster of tier systems, lockdowns and take-aways, how have Sale & Pepe kept themselves busy and in touch with customers during this tumultuous time? We speak to Pietro to find out more…

Tell us a little bit about Sale & Pepe
The idea for Sale & Pepe came from my love for cooking and hospitality.
Growing up in Sicily, food is integral to family and culture, and the earliest memory of my childhood involves following Nonna (Grandma) around the kitchen as she prepared meals. Not always as a lavish affair, but always great food made with passion.
This is how I developed my love for cooking and how I realised that food is so much more than just about eating, but pivotal to holding together both family and community.

Why did you choose Whitstable to open your business?
In January of 2019 I had the opportunity to open Sale & Pepe and was able to realise my dream which was to combine the English town spirit of Whitstable and my passion for cooking.
Sicilian Italian cooking is all about simplicity; using the freshest ingredients and best cooking techniques to maximise flavour. Its influence derived from Asia, Africa and Europe, and I like to think that this eclectic mix reflex the dishes that characterise my kitchen.

How will you keep customers safe on their return?
During the short period that we were allowed to reopen, we took all measures and precautions needed to keep our staff and customers safe, and even reduced our number of seats to almost half and we will keep these measures in place when we reopen.

What has kept you busy over lockdown?
We have carried out lots of improvements in the restaurant during the lockdown, having the chance to get fully licensed and now we stock a prestigious selection of all Sicilian wines from autochthon vines, and we can’t wait for our customers to try them.

How can customers help you right now?
We have had amazing support through lockdown as we have carried on with our takeaways and lots of people have been purchasing vouchers. So thank you to all our customers for this.

Marina Boutique

When you’ve shed your lockdown layers (fluffy socks, comfy leggings and jumpers) where will you be heading to step back into normality and dressed for the occasion? We talk to Susie Swetman from Marina, a fashion fboutique on Harbour Street about what she has been up to during Lockdown and what she is looking forward to the most when the high streets reopen safely.

Tell us about Marina
I opened Marina boutique twelve years ago. I have always been into fashion since I was a teenager and loved BIBA in London. I loved the glamour of that era. I’ve based Marina on Biba and glamour. I Introduced Marina men three years ago which Joe Kelly runs. Joe is our local DJ so we have the fashion the music and the combination works well.

Why Whitstable?
I chose Harbour street Whitstable as it seemed the best place for Marina, quirky and original.

What has kept you busy during lockdown?
I have been keeping busy taking pics of stock and putting on social media. Popping in the shop to do some cleaning and generally checking on everything. On the boring side my house is now spotless and I have been walking every day.

What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?

I’m looking forward to seeing my customers some I’ve known since the beginning and also getting back into a routine again.

How will you keep customers safe on their return?
I will need to keep customers safe and myself too. They will have to wear masks and social distance. we will only let two in at a time so not too many people in at one time.

How can customers support you right now?
Customers could support us by checking Joe’s and my social media and website –

Pure- indulgence by the sea


Janine Knell has spent 20 years in the beauty industry, 17 of these in Whitstable with her salon PURE Indulgence by the Sea. With government restrictions keeping the business closed for large chunks of 2020, what does she hope for her customers and business for 2021?

How have you been keeping busy during lockdown?

During lockdown we have been busy creating an online shop giving our clients access to their favourite products and gift vouchers. We are developing our social media content to support our customers and to make them smile during these unusual times. Plus of course running a business requires ongoing admin and accounts tasks to complete.

What are you looking forward to the most after lockdown?

We can’t wait to reopen and to welcome our clients back to the salon but in the meantime if we can help with any advice on skin or nail care please do give us a call.

What I am looking forward to most is hugging people, I miss that human touch. (I apologise in advance to anyone who doesn’t appreciate a hug), I just can’t help myself.

I can’t wait to also go out socialising with friends again and exploring the world.

How will you keep your customers safe on their return?

When the pandemic took hold, working within an industry where strict hygiene and cleanliness is paramount anyway, we knew that we were already adhering to the required covid rules and regulations.

We adapted our working structure and our treatment times to allow extra times between clients to deep clean the treatment area, ensuring extra care is taken to protect our clients and ourselves. We also wear visors with the addition face masks when in direct face contact with clients.

Before every treatment our clients are asked to complete our Covid Health Screen form, on arrival at the salon they must be wearing a face covering and of course we have sanitizer at our front and back doors.

How can customers support you right now?

We work hard on our social media and always appreciate a “like”, “comment” or even better, a “share”. It makes a huge difference to us as a small business.

Looking forward we have launched new “gift packs” ideal for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or to simply to send to friends so you can both enjoy a Friday night zoom evening with a face pack, chocolate, hot chocolate and beautiful SpaceMask.

The Beauty Lounge

Along with beauty therapists around the UK, Gemma Jarvis and her team at Beauty Lounge have had to postpone client appointments until it is safe to reopen. But Lockdown has proved that choosing Tankerton for her business has demonstrated the community spirit knew she would find here.

Tell us a little bit about The Beauty Lounge

Beauty Lounge has been going for 11 years now and all started in a little office building behind Tesco Whitstable. I took voluntary redundancy from Virgin Atlantic as inflight Beauty Therapist and used that money to start my own business. We grew so much that we needed our very own premises.

Why did you choose Tankerton to open your business?

I chose Tankerton because of the small friendly vibe it had. I wanted to be a part of a small community and be the first beauty salon in Tankerton.

What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?

After speaking to all my team, we can’t wait to be back with our clients and bring that feel good factor back. Clients become friends and we love catching up. We all miss each other too.

How will you keep your customers safe on their return?

We’ve always prided ourselves with hygiene and cleanliness in our salon. It’s something clients love about us. We’ve all taken a clean touch course with our skin care brand Dermalogica and many others. We send out covid questionnaire to our clients before they arrive, temperate checks on arrival, sanitise hands and mask worn. In salon us as therapists check temperature and are fit & healthy, change into clean uniform and shoes in salon before we start and change again once we leave. Clean down of 15 minutes after each client, every client has their own nail file and buffer given to them and to bring along each visit. We also wear an apron, mask and visor. Hygiene is our top priority.

What has kept you busy over lockdown?

I’ve been doing local deliveries of our products, Dermalogica and Neom. I have also been taking online courses on new ranges for the salon.

I’ve also been doing facials virtually. Kits are brought for £15 and I go through the skin care routine with them via zoom or FaceTime. It’s been so popular and keeps me busy. It’s been lovely how it brings people together in these times. Mother and daughters that haven’t seen each other for so long but doing a skin care class together virtually.

How can customers support you right now?

I’ve seen so much support for us in these times. It’s made us realise what a big difference we make to our community. People can buy vouchers or products from us or something just as simple as liking or commenting on our social media posts.

Cafe Revival

One cafe that will be even more in need post lockdown is Cafe Revival, who not only serve up great food and drink, but they are also a centre for help with mental health if customers need support. We spoke to Deborah Haylett about why Whitstable needs them and what they have been doing during lockdown for the community.

Tell us a little bit about Café Revival?
Cafe Revival is playing a vital role in our town by not only providing amazing coffees, cakes, soups and more but by also offering mental health outreach as a social enterprise with a community space.
We are here for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat with advice and help with letting people know which resources are available to them in a non-intrusive way.

Why did you choose Whitstable?
One of the main reasons was that our CEO from Mind in Bexley lives in Whitstable. The mental health provision in Whitstable was inconsistent and we wanted to expand into East Kent to establish East Kent Mind, so Whitstable was a natural choice.

What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?
We are most looking forward to being able to re-open the community café space, we have missed the welcoming and inclusive aspects of running the cafe and we want it to return as a hub of local mental health information.
Most of all we have missed our customers and cannot wait to see their friendly faces. Having the cafe as a central part of our mental health outreach is a different approach to other mental health outreach approaches and we believe it is truly innovative, integrating physical and mental health, food, community and people whilst raising mental health awareness and challenging stigma in a non-threatening or intrusive way.

How will you keep your customers safe on their return?
We know that even when lockdown ends the need to keep our customers safe will not go away. We’re very lucky to have a large space where we can socially distance and have huge doors out to our balcony that provide effective ventilation and outdoor seating in good weather. We adhere to all Government regulations and will remain vigilant with our policies and procedures to ensure the highest safety standards are maintained to remain Covid secure.

What has kept you busy over lockdown?
We moved completely online for local deliveries which has kept us very busy. We have lunches on Wednesdays and Fridays and have themed kids MAKE BAKE CREATE activity bags full of crafts and cooking/making activities that replace the family workshops we used to do in the cafe. Our friendly peer support groups have continued both online and in the cafe and offer an informal, welcoming space to listen, share and improve local connection and support. We have also developed wellbeing packs full of things to support wellbeing and treats to lift the spirits.

How can customers support you right now?
Please continue to buy online, share our social media posts, get involved in our wellbeing campaign, share information about our mental health support or donate to our pay-it-forward that is currently being used to support our partnership with Food Friends delivering food and mental health support to local residents in need.