Local businesses in Kirkcaldy and surrounding areas have been counting the cost after being hit by the ‘Beast from the East’.
Many were forced to shut up shop for a few days last week as the country was blasted by high winds, heavy snow and freezing temperatures.
Staff were unable to make it into work and deliveries and orders were delayed by the extreme weather.
Many businesses also suffered from a lack of passing trade as most people chose not to venture out as the worst of the wintry conditions took hold.
Ryan O’Donovan, store manager at Marks and Spencer in the High Street, Kirkcaldy said: “The store was closed on Thursday and it opened with reduced hours on Wednesday and Friday, due to the treacherous weather conditions and road closures.”
He added there was a reduced delivery at the store as a result of limited stock reaching the distribution centre in Cumbernauld.
Mike Lowe from the Cupcake Coffee Box said: “We decided not to open on Thursday because we didn’t want to risk the safety of our staff.
“We opened on the Friday with a skeleton staff but we were shut by 2pm. The weekend wasn’t busy for us and on the Saturday we lost £1000 in income. We were hit really badly.”
He added: “In terms of deliveries we have a lot of fridge space so we were were able to carry a lot of stock. We struggled with supplies of bread but managed with everything else.”
Christine Cunningham-Smith, who owns Bliss Beauty, in the town’s Whytescauseway, said her business was closed early on Wednesday and remained closed on Thursday and Friday.
She said: “The safety of our team and clients was paramount so I decided to close based on weather warnings. Staff made it in on Wednesday as they all lived relatively locally and I picked them up and dropped them off in my car which has four wheel drive.”
She said deliveries to her business were affected with a new product arriving later than expected on the Saturday.
She added: “Thursday, Friday and Saturday are our busiest days when we usually operate with maximum staff numbers so we can accomodate many of our clients.
‘‘But we have lost just over 100 hours of working time which is difficult to recoup at this time of year. We are now contacting our clients who missed appointments and hopefully they will all re-book.”
Nadia Moreland, co-owner of Love Restored in the High Street’s east end, said they were forced to close for two and a half days. She said deliveries were disrupted, but normal service resumed on Monday.
Meanwhile, Laura Laird, BID co-ordinator, Kirkcaldy4All, said: “It’s hard to remember a time when the High Street was last impacted as it was this past week, with access and communications being a challenge for everybody.
“However, some businesses such as Nickel and Dime and Trespass have managed to ‘weather the storm’ and done a roaring trade in shovels and sledges.”
Businesses on the edge of town, like 3D Precision Engineering, in Mitchelston Industrial Estate were also affected.
Scott Bonnar, managing director, said he was forced to close from Wednesday through to Monday.
He said: “Staff could not get in and deliveries could not get through. It was a disruptive time for everyone and it has had a knock on effect for the whole month.
‘‘We are now rushing jobs through to meet delivery schedules. I am confident we will get back on track and things should be back to normal in a week or two.”
Michael Longstaffe, CEO at Smith Anderson, which is also based at Mitchelston, said they were able to keep the business open and only one out of three deliveries failed to get through. He said: “We lost between 25 and 50 per cent of our production capacity, roughly £250,000 worth of lost revenue.
‘‘But we made it clear to staff we did not want them to travel into work if they did not feel it was safe.” He said fewer staff made it in on Thursday and Friday but added: “Without the people who came in we would not have been able to deliver stock required by our customers.”
Business in Burntisland and Kinghorn also took a hit.
Lorna Duffin, co-owner of Burntisland cafe Potter About, said a number of staff were unable to make it into work.
“We were short of deliveries and could not open on Friday because we had no milk. We opened shorter hours on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday to allow staff to start later or leave early.
‘‘It was hard work with limited staff and the wages bill will be higher for the shifts we had to cover.”
She thanked Tom Courts, Julie Anderson, Karen Houston, staff and customers who helped her to stay open.
Calum Sinclair, owner, C & M Seafoods, Burntisland, said: “Our delivery van was off the road all week, which is about 50 per cent of our income, and getting stock out the shop was a massive issue. A lot of our customers come from out of town which affected sales.”
Tom Courts from the butchers in Burntisland said: “We were very busy and managed to stay open.
‘‘I had the foresight to order in extra stock at the beginning of the week. I am also fortunate to have outstanding staff who made the effort to get to work.”
Sharon Richardson from Harbour View in Kinghorn said: “My brewers’ delivery did not come but we coped.
‘‘The bistro became the hub for locals who came day after day to be fed. We are so lucky in Kinghorn, so many people helped others over the week. What a fantastic community we have.”