It’s a small business owner’s worst nightmare. Braddon Flowers was listed as an exposure site two days after it was allowed to resume click and collect trading during the lockdown.
The florist’s owner and operator, Lauren King, said she was scared the listing would severely impact her business, which only opened in May.
The initial influx of online trading was a welcome surprise for the florist before the shock listing forced a reconsideration of the way the business functioned.
“There was a point where orders were coming in and I felt, ‘oh no’, I hope I can deliver. It was more than I expected [compared to] our capacity, especially because we are more of a walk-in,” Ms King said.
Then she received a call from her friend, whose store had also been listed, and was told not to freak out but to expect a call from ACT Health the following day.
After a little “freak out” – despite her friend’s warning – Ms King said she was relieved ACT Health was able to contact all the people they needed to. Her concern then turned towards her store, fearful that the listing would result in a total loss of customers.
“[But] all the customers who did see Braddon Flowers on the list have been really kind and supportive,” she said.
“It was not ideal but I do not think it is a name and shame list and I think most people are aware of that. It just means my customers are doing the right thing.”
Given the circumstances, business is working out better than what could have been expected.
“The response from Canberrans has been really positive – I cannot complain at all,” she said.
“I think Canberra’s favourite thing is small businesses, it’s crazy. I feel very lucky.”
Ms King has been a florist for 12 years and opened her second store in Braddon after she and her husband walked past the shopfront and saw that it was the perfect size for their new dream.
“I just wanted flowers to be more accessible for people with a slightly smaller budget and for that younger generation. Something between your servo flowers and your boutique florist,” she said.
“I was not planning for there to be another lockdown, I do not think anyone was.”
Ms King said that while some Canberrans were not in a position to spend money at local businesses during the lockdown, support on social media could go a long way.
“I know some people will not be able to spend their money so if that is the case, it sounds silly, but sharing and interacting on social media is a huge help and a good old Google review is invaluable,” she said.
“Definitely support small businesses where you can.”