Angling’s boost in popularity during lockdown has seen a Studley fishing business experience a significant surge in demand.
Guides n Blanks, which supplies fishing shops all over the UK and allows customers to build their own custom rods, has seen its sales skyrocket due to people taking up the sport during lockdown.
Manager Gregg Holloway said the business received just shy of 1,000 orders in June, far higher than the 500 or so orders usually seen in a good month.
He said: “With lots of people being off work and the government allowing angling to resume back in May, we’ve really seen a big boost in business.
“We’ve heard from shops who we haven’t dealt with for a number of years, and we’re also seeing plenty of customers with old and broken rods coming in to get new parts and advice on how to get the most out of their rods.
“My hope is that a good proportion of people who have taken up fishing for the first time because of the lockdown continue to enjoy the sport when this is all over.
“Angling had been in decline for a number of years due to young people not really being interested. But I think a lot of people have a new appreciation for the outdoors thanks to the lockdown.”
The firm, which employs eight people, sells a huge variety of rod components to walk-in customers, such as reel seats, guides, handles and blanks.
Due to the pandemic, customers now have to browse the store’s stock in a catalogue, before placing their order with staff. Their order is then brought out by staff who maintain social distancing from the customer.
Guides n Blanks was given a grant by Stratford District Council when the lockdown was at its peak to enable it to stay afloat.
Gregg added: “The grant just relieved the pressure on our cashflow. We may have been looking at redundancies without it.
“Now, I think we’ll make it until the end of the year. We can’t predict the future – there may well be a second wave – but I think the short-term is looking a lot better than it might otherwise have.
“I’d like to thank my staff, Stratford District Council and all of our loyal customers as well – without them, we simply couldn’t have survived.”
The project has received £116,036 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
Caption: Gregg Holloway, manager of Guides n Blank