Town centre business owner's pledge amid latest lockdown closure

Matthew Goddard, managing director of Picture Studios. Picture: Picture Studios

Matthew Goddard, managing director of Picture Studios. Picture: Picture Studios - Credit: Picture Studios

Management at a popular photography studio based in Suffolk and Norfolk have vowed they "will not be going anywhere" as they deal with the latest lockdown.

Having been a constant in Lowestoft town centre for more than 15 years, Picture Studios expanded to open a new Norwich studio in 2019.

Both studios temporarily closed amid the continuing coronavirus crisis on March 23 last year, before re-opening in June and then having to close again during the November lockdown.

Of the latest lockdown, Matthew Goddard, managing director of Picture Studios on London Road North in Lowestoft and Ber Street in Norwich, said: "These things are sent to try us, but as an entrepreneur you get used to overcoming many hurdles through your business journey."

Matthew Goddard, Managing Director of Picture Studios in Lowestoft and Norwich. Picture: Picture Stu

Matthew Goddard, Managing Director of Picture Studios in Lowestoft and Norwich. Picture: Picture Studios - Credit: Picture Studios

With both studios temporarily closed, work is being carried out remotely.


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Mr Goddard said: "Once we opened after lockdown one, we were looking forward to preparing for the busy festive period in the lead up to Christmas, which is normally one of our busiest, but unfortunately lockdown two then came around and we closed again."

Picture Studios' online presence meant they did sell gift experiences and vouchers over the November lockdown, but "this didn’t go anywhere near the level of business" they would normally have seen.

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Mr Goddard said: "November would normally see us do double the amount of photo shoots as we would in any other month of the year.

"Many of our festive shoots were booked as much as three months in advance.

"We also had many expectant and new parents booked in for photo shoots, but unfortunately we also had to cancel those for the time being.

"We fully understand the reasons behind the lockdowns and support the government's attempts to keep us all safe, but that doesn’t stop you feeling like you are letting people down."

With the studios reopening for around three weeks in December, Mr Goddard said: "With the release of the vaccine I felt there may be light at the end of the tunnel and we had the possibility of beginning 2021 more positively - but again we find ourselves in another lockdown.

"We still have enough current business tasks, daily enquiries and pre bookings to make it worthwhile for us to open remotely Tuesday to Saturdays 9am until 5.30pm.

"However, this is with just one member of staff. The remaining are all on furlough again.

"From the start of the pandemic I have been clear we will not be going anywhere and all our employees' jobs will be safe.

"Business wise this may have set us back for a bit, but it will not be changing our future plans for improvements and progression."

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