“The brands we’ve chosen to stock have been chosen not only based on the quality of the products but their brand ethos…”

Lockdown created huge challenges for business owners this year. During a time when many of us were feeling unmotivated, frustrated and financially fragile, there was a rise in the entrepreneurial spirit of the people in Teesside who chose to see this challenge as an opportunity to prosper.

We think The Tees is the perfect place to champion these new businesses and help to give them the exposure they deserve.

For the next feature in our series, we caught up with Steve Askham, owner of well established brand, That Cake Ltd. While some of you may already know of his popular cake business, you may not know that Steve launched a brand new sub brand during lockdown too, called ‘That Pantry’.

That Pantry is an independent food and lifestyle store, working with highly regarded brands such as Snowdonia Cheese, Cartwright and Butler, Ross & Ross, The Fudge Kitchen, Nicolas Vahe and Shortbread House Of Edinburgh. Steve has kept this idea in his head for a little while, however the downtime during lockdown gave him an opportunity to finally bring his idea to life.

“As a catering business, the months of April – September are extremely important as it is ‘wedding season’ where we would normally have at least one wedding every week. Sadly, all these bookings were lost (postponed to 2021) which left us with time that is never usually available,” Steve explains. “This time allowed me to bring a long-standing idea to life. We were offered a building four doors down from our little cake/coffee shop, which is located inside The LillianDaph store, and it was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed on. I made an offer the day we viewed the building as it just felt ‘right’ for what I’ve envisioned for so long. We quickly began pitching our new sub brand ‘That Pantry’ and the stores concept to various brands that we wanted to stock. The brands we’ve chosen to stock have been chosen not only based on the quality of the products but their brand ethos, as we see it more as a collaboration, than simply selling their products.”

As with the other two newly launches businesses featured in this article, Steve agreed that although the initial impact of Covid-19 was negative, the positive take away was the fact that he was given more time to focus on aspects he wouldn’t normally have the time to look at. He was able to take a concept that has been in his head for a while and turn it into reality, showcasing his entrepreneurial spirit and proving just what a positive mindset can achieve.

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We hope our ‘businesses born in lockdown’ feature is helping showcase how positivity and creativity during times of crisis can lead to amazing results. As difficult a year as 2020 has been, there have been some exciting and life changing businesses launched. Did you know some of the most successful companies in the world were born in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis? Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest and Whatsapp, for example, each changing the way we travel, live and communicate with each other.

If you know of any other businesses born in lockdown, we’d love to hear about them. Get in touch with us on the details below:

Business Editor: Sophia Gowland
Email address: sophia@thepetiteagency.co.uk
Mobile: 07772695544


Do you have a story, something to say or an idea for what we should cover on The Tees Online? Contact us at hello@thetees.online.