Bosses at the Vintage Tea Rooms were prompted to make the dire warning on social media earlier this week as they shared a photo of their empty bookings diary – just a few days after the town was moved into the higher tier two of coronavirus restrictions.
Owner Sharon Hilton said that it was the first time this had happened in the three years since she ‘proudly took ownership’ of the business.
However, since the post appeared on Facebook, and after the story was featured in the Derbyshire Times, Sharon says the New Beetwell Street café has been ‘inundated’ with new bookings.
“The response has been amazing and it has been so emotional,” Sharon said. “It has been absolutely overwhelming how the people of Chesterfield have reacted to it.”
An empty order book has now been replaced by empty cake domes at the venue after Sharon sold out of sweet treats ‘for the first time ever’.
“For three days we had no bookings at all and then all of a sudden we were inundated with calls and having to turn people away,” Sharon said.
“We’ve also been able to make plenty of bookings for our spooky afternoon teas next week for Halloween, which has been wonderful.
“I was really worried about our future earlier in the week but if it keeps going like this I will be more hopeful. I can’t thank the people of Chesterfield enough.”
The tea rooms employ eight people whose lives would also have been affected, and Sharon admitted earlier in the week she ‘would rather be closed with support than open with no support’.
Now she has called on people in Chesterfield to help other independent businesses in the run up to the festive period.
“If people could buy just one present from a local, independent business I’m sure it would make so much difference,” Sharon added.
“If they can support another business the way they have helped me it would be so heartwarming.”