It's a sunny day in Portals Nous. Shops are open and business is being done. Small local businesses, which Majorca has in abundance, are all hustling hard to recover from their enforced closure for the COVID-19 quarantine. It’s also the first day that Kay Halley, the owner of the Universal Bookshop, and a regular columnist for the Majorca Daily Bulletin, is allowed to open her doors again.
“As soon as I realised we were going into lockdown in March, I went back to the UK and stayed with a friend,” Kay tells me. She locked up and left, and spent her quarantine in good health and with good company. But getting back to the island has been a bit of a mission. “I had to get a friend to go into my flat here and get my paperwork, then they gave it to Nicky at Ticket and she and Calvia council had to organise permission for me to be able to travel back to Majorca.” The trip back took an epic three days, with a cancelled flight to Madrid on day one, two overnight hotel stays, some intense conversations with the Guardia Civil as she was repeatedly asked to show her papers and many temperature checks before she finally arrived back in Palma. “Then I had to go into a 14 day quarantine before I could open the shop. But even then I had to take the time to get the social distancing markings on the floor but I am finally open again”, Kay had already been visited by two customers who had brought her flowers, how nice is that? Kay is planning to launch a kid’s story time as soon as she is permitted with social distancing rules,and she has a few other ideas up her sleeve. Right now if you buy a new book then you get the second one half price, and she is selling her stock of yarn at a reduced price as well in order to clear her shelves and get some new stock in.
Next door is Joanna from Estudio 3. Another small business owner who needs our support. “I am getting a lot of summer clothes in today or tomorrow”, she tells me. “I know that a lot of shops in Palma still have their winter stock in so I think that will be very popular”. She is also selling very pretty cotton face masks, “I had twenty on here this morning!” she says as we both gaze at the remaining three.
Then a quick hop over to Peras and Pears, the health food shop to chat to Kate. How has business been since you reopened? I ask.”It’s been okay, we are selling a lot of freshly made food to takeaway. Maybe everyone is sick of their own cooking! Customers are really interested in eating vitamins and superfoods which support and improve their immune systems which I help them with if they need some advice. We also have a stock of essential oil diffusers which are going well, they are good for cleaning the air in your house”.
Across the road, opposite Chamellis, is the Secret Garden, run by Dawna. She’s my last stop on my little tour of this corner of Portals, trying to get a snapshot of how businesses are doing. She’s been open for a while now, again, observing all the social distance rulings. “We’ve had a lot of fun with the one way system, I make the customers walk on the line as they leave!” Dawna tells me with a smile on her face. Business? I ask. “It’s been okay, we have had more Spanish clients in than normal which has been lovely. We are waiting to see if we will see any real summer season here, but I’ve quite enjoyed having the chance to see the local community but in the sunshine! Word has got out about our terrace, and we are very lucky to have it. We’ve been doing a collaboration with Simon from Moos and he delivers burgers to our clients if they are hungry because we have not yet reopened our kitchen”. Summer 2002? “We’ll see I suppose!”
Where shall we go next to focus on your business? Let us know!