Amigo Travel owner and founder Paul Smith said he is “hugely relieved” after receiving a government payout for small businesses affected by the winter floods.
The company, which is housed within York Designer Outlet, was forced to close on Boxing Day and for half of the following day – two of travel’s busiest trading days – when its internet and phone lines went down.
“We tried hard to continue operating but it just wasn’t possible,” said Smith, who also owns Quartz Travel.
“We had no tech and it was cash only, which obviously isn’t really viable for a travel firm – no one has that amount of cash to hand.
“There was so much chaos and some of our staff couldn’t get in.
“Boxing Day and the day after are two of the busiest trading days of the year so it was really frustrating – we had anticipated taking around £3,500.
“As a fledgling business it was really gutting. Of course we’ve had nothing like the devastation in Hebden Bridge and other areas though.”
Smith said he enquired whether his insurance company could cover the firm for loss of earnings, but it could not.
However, he was delighted to be informed this week that Amigo Travel is entitled to a government grant of £2,500 for small businesses affected in the floods – the Flood Recovery Fund for businesses – which is arranged through the local authority.
“I was told by my bank this week that it’s there waiting for us to access it,” said Paul.
“It is spectacular news and a huge relief as that will go some way in covering staff pay for those days and the like.
“I am so impressed with that – there was no jumping through hoops to get it, it wasn’t just hot air from David Cameron.”
Smith said since Amigo Travel reopened its doors business has “picked up massively” and that “York is most definitely open for business”.
Smith continued: “There is a big public meeting being held at the council next week which will enable us to communicate about what could have been done differently and the lessons that should be learnt.
“That is so important. We seem to be well looked after here in York.”
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