The owners of an Angus resort have revealed the “massive” financial impact Covid-19 has had on their business.
Forbes of Kingennie opened its doors in 2005, with luxury lodges and weddings at the heart of the business, alongside a golf course and fishing pools.
On average, they were hosting about 80 weddings each year, but that number has been cut significantly over the past year.
The resort near Dundee was closed last March as the country went into lockdown, before re-opening for a time last summer, albeit with restrictions in place.
Another lockdown at the start of this year forced the resort to close once more and it has had a huge impact on the business.
Libby Forbes, the company’s marketing manager and daughter of owners Mike and Gail, said the business had lost sales of £750,000.
She admits it has been a “really tricky” period.
The 29-year-old said: “It has been a massive stress for the family, and for all of our team too.
“The uncertainty and having to continually change and adapt has been a strain on us.
“We just pulled together to get through it.”
In an attempt to mitigate the financial impact, the business used the Government’s furlough scheme for their staff – which tops 50 during the summer months.
They have avoided making any redundancies.
“We’re really glad that we’ve managed to hold on to everyone,” Libby continued.
“We managed to take a couple of people in recently – waiting staff and green keepers – in preparation for the rush that we are anticipating.”
It has been a challenging time for the Forbes family, but Libby also sympathises with the couples who have been forced to postpone weddings, and the regular visitors to the resort.
Some couples have had to delay tying the knot on more than one occasion due to the pandemic.
“It is difficult for people because people have postponed a couple of times, so I think they just want to get married.
“It’s tough for everyone and we feel for our brides and grooms.
“We’ve also really missed our regulars, so it’s been great seeing them back over the last couple of weeks.”
Long-term planning problematic
Despite the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out continuing, it remains difficult for many businesses to plan for the long-term.
Guest numbers are significantly reduced at functions, while there are still limits on the number of households that can mix indoors.
She added: “It’s difficult to plan from a business point of view with the unknown of the possibility of there being another outbreak.
“Hopefully we’ve come out the other side stronger. We’re ready to take on a busy summer, all things going to plan.
“You just don’t want to say that and jinx things.”
‘We’ll have a busy year’
After an unprecedented 14 months, Libby hopes that the worst is behind them.
Monday marks another milestone with the sale of alcohol indoors permitted again.
The easing of restrictions has taken a weight off the minds of the Forbes family.
Libby added: “It just feels like we’re ready to take it on.
“The team is in the same frame of mind where they want us to come back from this.
“We’re already pretty busy. As long as that continues, we’ll be able to get the money we’ve lost back.
“We’ll have a busy year next year and the second half of this year as well.”