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Welsh coffee business brew up lockdown success as sales soar

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One of Wales’ leading coffee roasteries has turned lockdown stress into business success by quadrupling its online sales during the lockdown period.

Coaltown Coffee, based in Ammanford in south west Wales, saw sales with its 275 wholesale customers stop virtually overnight as the UK entered lockdown in March. But the company, which has two café sites and was about to open two more before the pandemic hit, has seen a huge spike in its online sales thanks to a quick response in enhancing its digital presence.

Fast tracking its plans to redevelop its web shop, which was due to happen later this year anyway, Coaltown Coffee has reported a 582% rise in sales in April 2020 based on the same month the previous year. The roastery, which up until lockdown derived the majority of its sales from the wholesale market, accelerated the overhaul of its online retail platform into the space of a week. The company has seen an average of 160 orders a day during lockdown, a 220% increase on average daily orders before coronavirus.

Scott James, founder of Coaltown Coffee said: “Our online presence was established, but we never anticipated the level of traffic increase we saw during this lockdown phase. It’s been hugely encouraging to see how quickly we’ve been able to respond to this as a business, as well as the new market of customers we’ve attracted. We’ve adapted our business aims for 2020, in what should have been the year we opened two further sites, to redirecting our focus towards providing customers good quality coffee that can be enjoyed at home.”

The company also set out to diversify its offering, expanding its subscription box service by offering rolling subscriptions, gift subscriptions and an ‘espresso roulette’ where the customer is sent a random espresso flavour every week. Coaltown saw its subscription service customer base double in the first three weeks of lockdown.

Scott continued: “We haven’t invested in targeted digital advertising or large-scale social media campaigns during lockdown, but relied on organic marketing through videos and blog content which has helped to raise the profile of the web shop.”

The Drinks Cluster, funded by the Welsh Government, is the body that represents Wales’ alcohol and soft drinks producers. Mark Grant, associate director at Levercliff who leads the Drinks Cluster, commented: “Coaltown are a prime example of a business here in Wales that has faced the challenges of lockdown head on and moved rapidly to ensure it can still make a success of this time. Thanks to streamlining their digital presence efficiently, the company have unlocked new custom and seen their sales soar. Clearly consumers are keen to get their hands on great coffee, even during lockdown.”

Coaltown Coffee roasts and packs its coffee at its roastery in Ammanford, the hometown of founder Scott James. Coaltown employs local people from the town in south west Wales and focuses on ethical and sustainable trade with small farms across the world’s coffee growing regions.

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Shock in Carmarthenshire as it’s named as one of the top locations for most reckless young drivers in UK

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CARMARTHENSHIRE has landed some unwanted publicity after being named as home to some of the most reckless young drivers in the UK.

According to comprehensive analysis by Adrian Flux, the county is one of the areas with the speediest teenagers on the road. On average 87.1% of FluxScore users there will receive a serious warning about their speeding compared to less than one in five in Conwy (17%).

The warnings are triggered by a black box that sits in the driver’s car to monitor their performance in the hope of improving safety and saving them money.

“This gamification style approach has helped sensible drivers save up to 60% for year-long safe driving upon renewal,” said Scott Goodliffe at Adrian Flux, one of the UK’s largest specialist motor insurance brokers.

“Unfortunately, some users are less attentive or cautious and their behaviour is a cause for concern because it leaves them more likely to make a claim or hurt themselves or others.

“It’s disappointing when alerts have to be sent but we’re proud that they are helping to change behaviour behind the wheel. We already know FluxScore is reducing the number of speeders across the board by 70% and hopefully this analysis will help address the small number who negatively impact these already impressive figures slightly.”

There are also considerable concerns about how quickly youngsters are travelling in Rhondda Cynon Taf with the area also being named and shamed in the top 10. It’s a much better picture in Conwy though with youngsters there being rated amongst the most careful drivers in the UK.

Adrian Flux’s self-fitting black box sits on the inside of the windscreen and tracks journeys. It helps reward safe driving by providing daily updates on the FluxScore app to show how the previous 24 hours’ driving has affected a driver’s renewal premium.

FluxScore sends alerts to drivers who it deems as driving dangerously or above the speed limit. The findings focus on Alert 2s, which are considered serious speeding events and take into account other factors such as the type of road. If a driver receives three Alert 2s, this will result in their policy being suspended.

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Local specialist contractors needed for countryside works

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL is seeking local specialist countryside contractors for work on Public Rights of Way and conservation sites throughout the county.

Businesses in Carmarthenshire are being encouraged to tender for the countywide framework, which is for two years, starting in September with an option to extend for a further two years.

The work will include the management of nature reserves, mitigation for development and government funded habitat projects on sites with challenging conditions, ecological constraints, wet land and difficult access.

Examples of the work include path maintenance, installation of countryside furniture (stiles and gates), mowing overgrown fields, chainsaw and strimmer work, excavator work, woodland management, fencing and tree planting.

A proven track record and a good understanding of working in the rural and natural environment and knowledge of conservation is essential, as is an understanding of the way that the land changes in challenging weather conditions.

Applicants will need to make available vehicle inspection documents and maintenance records, certificates of operator competency (in relation to plant hire with operatives), health and safety policy and relevant insurance documents.

Any suppliers interested in tendering for this work need to be registered on the National Procurement Portal Sell2Wales website, where they can express their interest and receive further information.

This is a free online service and allows businesses to promote their organisation not only to the council but to other Welsh public sector bodies, and to receive notifications about contract opportunities suitable to their field of work.

The council also encourages businesses to register on the Business Wales Business Directory – a free resource where businesses can advertise their services.

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Police appeal for information after vehicle collides with two pedestrians

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POLICE say they are appealing for witnesses following a road traffic collision which occurred on College Street, Newcastle Emlyn just after 4pm on Monday 20th June.

A black coloured Honda CRV vehicle collided with two people on the pedestrian crossing.

A 70-year-old female sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to hospital.

A 50-year-old female was taken to hospital by ambulance with what are described as minor injuries

The 64 year old female driver of the vehicle was arrested on suspicion of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, and has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, or has information that could help officers with their investigation, or anyone who was driving in the area at the time and has dashcam footage, is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DP-20220620-283.”

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