31st March: Message to our online shoppers across North America & EMEA
In our cultures we often ask casually ‘are you well?’ as an inconsequential but well-meaning conversation starter. In these days it now comes with far greater meaning and genuine concern. This crisis will inevitably touch all of our families in some way and I pray that you are all well and your families, colleagues and friends are also healthy and safe.
These are challenging times for our industry and our societies more generally. What we do does seem very small; compared to the incredible efforts of our citizens who are medical staff or scientists they are of course almost meaningless at this time. However, we all will play a big part in returning our societies to a form of normality where everyone can get out and ride again and enjoy all the positive benefits the outdoor life brings. This period will pass, soon we hope and we need to be ready to play our part.
Three years ago we set as one of our strategies, for our business in this part of the world, to be ‘The best place to work in the equestrian industry’. It was and still is an aspirational goal and keeps us focused on how we can make work more rewarding for our employees in more than a dozen locations across the Northern Hemisphere. One of the decisions we took was to invest heavily in technology and the processes that support it, to ensure that we could support flexible and remote working wherever possible. We did not have a global pandemic in mind of course. That investment and two years of work has now enabled us to be into our third week of having all our office-based colleagues, normally in Adderbury UK and Edison NJ, to be working successfully from home with no noticeable drop-in service. We are working hard through regular video updates, video team meetings and all company video calls to keep everyone who is remotely working connected and feeling part of our work family. It’s been a challenge but the Weatherbeeta team have responded magnificently and I am incredibly proud to be part of that effort. Most importantly they are all safe.
Our warehouse colleagues have also proved remarkable in their commitment to adapting to what is required to work safely in this new environment. Through splitting working hours and shifts, enhanced cleaning and changed working procedures, we have made working in our two warehouses, at Edison NJ and Rushden UK, safe from infection at work. This means we continue to be able to serve the needs of our customers and shoppers in this great industry of ours – while doing so safely and complying with all local and national directives. Again, I feel incredibly proud that I am part of the team that has achieved that.
Currently regulations support eCommerce as well as operating the necessary warehouses and distribution, as long as we can operate safely. Which we can. So as long as those regulations allow, we will continue to be available for our shoppers and retailers. This will enable us all to bounce back quickly when the crisis passes.
It is clear that our retail partners face a very challenging few weeks ahead. Physical face to face retail will prove very hard to sustain in many locations and if it has not already closed I fear there will be few traditional tack and saddlery stores that choose to or can trade safely for the duration of the crisis. Of course, online sales will continue, and you can find details of our online stockists here https://www.collegiatesaddlery.com/stockists or indeed you can buy directly from us if you wish.
We thank you for visiting our sites and hope to be able to continue to serve you in the days and weeks ahead.
Wishing you the best of health and please stay safe
President, North America & EMEA