Georgina and Jessie Humphries of Baked by Humphries have become the 100th business to join Sudbury’s Virtual High Street. Here the sisters explain how their new business all began on their parents’ kitchen table during the first lockdown
Georgina and Jessie Humphries will hardly be the only siblings who have found themselves living back at their parents’ house this year. Jessie explains how she and her sister, who are behind the new Baked by Humphries bakery business on Sudbury Market, found themselves winding back there. ‘With one of us starting the year off being furloughed and the other involved in a car accident we both found ourselves living back at our parent’s house,’ explains Jessie.
‘With a professional patisserie background mixed with design and marketing we put our heads together and started baking.
‘We received such positive feedback and so decided to set up a website selling our baked goods online.
She adds: ‘We honestly had no idea how this year was going to go. We started ‘Baked By Humphries’ on our parents kitchen table with a dream, a whole lot of passion and creativity, and – against all odds – it has brought us closer than we ever could have imagined.’
Baked by Humphries offers a selection of delicious cakes, brownies, cupcakes and more from their stall at Sudbury Market and they hope to reach even more customers and be part of the local business community by becoming the 100th business to be added to the Virtual High Street.
The online initiative is home to a variety of independent shops, restaurants, cafes, and market stall owners.
Created as part of the Sudbury Vision partnership and supported by Babergh District Council and Sudbury Town Council, the aim of the Virtual High Street is to help businesses keep connected with their customers and encourage them to shop local.
More than half of businesses on the Sudbury Virtual High Street had no website before joining and the platform gives them a digital presence for the first time.
The site allows businesses to enhance their in-store offer by introducing services such as pre-order or click and collect. Each store page can be personalised to include product listings, gallery and store opening times on their personalised store page. There is also an option to include online purchasing and delivery depending on the retailer’s requirements.
Over the recent national lockdown, the Virtual High Street received over 700 visits in just one week, many of which were to businesses that were forced to close their doors as part of Covid-19 restriction measures.
Jessie comments: ‘We joined the virtual high street in support of all local independent businesses and are excited to be the 100th business added to the website.
‘This year it’s more important than ever to shop local where you can and by doing so the ripple effect of those actions will be seen for months, maybe even years, to come.
‘Shopping local is personal, it has heart and soul and that’s one thing we don’t want the high streets around us to lose.’
As we start counting down to what is likely to be a very different Christmas this year, I hope that the Virtual High Street is useful not only for shoppers but also for our local businesses
Cllr Michael HolteBabergh District Council Cabinet member for economic growth
Commenting on the Virtual High Street, Cllr Michael Holt, cabinet member for economic growth says: ‘I am delighted that so many businesses in Sudbury have decided to join the Virtual High Street, especially those who have not had an online presence before. We know how challenging this year has been and our vision was to find an innovative way to help connect our local businesses with their customers who may not be able to visit the high street as often as they would like.
‘As we start counting down to what is likely to be a very different Christmas this year, I hope that the Virtual High Street is useful not only for shoppers but also for our local businesses.’
Businesses can sign up to the Virtual High Street for free during the pilot period and as the site grows more functionality will be added. This could include activity and events listings and high street promotions.
It is also hoped that the Virtual High Street will expand to include other town centre high streets across Babergh and Mid Suffolk.
There is a real sense of community in Sudbury, and this year has really seen many more shoppers realising the impact of shopping and supporting local and making a commitment to do so more frequently
Rachel PriceTown centre manager for Sudbury Town Council
Rachel Price, town centre manager of Sudbury Town Council adds: ‘In just over a month since the Virtual High Street re-launched, it is fantastic that we have doubled the number of businesses on the platform. There is a real sense of community in Sudbury, and this year has really seen many more shoppers realising the impact of shopping and supporting local and making a commitment to do so more frequently. The Virtual High Street enables locals to discover the many quality independent businesses right on their doorstep and buy direct from them online or in person.’
Other businesses who have signed up to the Virtual High Street over the last few weeks include Ray’s Retro, Vi Vi Vi Clothing & Accessories as well as Bridal Re-Loved Sudbury and Townrow Homewares, which are all are new to Sudbury.
(Featured image: Georgina of Baked by Humphries)