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Diss business is bouncing back after lockdown blues

An innovative business is enjoying a resurgence after struggling through lockdowns and almost folding.

Little Tents was initially formed in March of last year, shortly before the pandemic struck, but with its services involving children mixing in close proximity, business owner Jordan Coleman decided to pause operations.

“The last thing I wanted was to encourage sleepovers and mixing of households, so I decided to leave it on the back-burner,” said the 41-year-old, who lives with her husband Philip in De Lucy Close, Diss.

Jordan Coleman with some of her tents Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Jordan Coleman with some of her tents Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

The fledgling business was struggling to cope with a third lockdown, but a booking made by a friend for her two children allowed Mrs Coleman to post some photos on the Diss Community Facebook page.

This caught the attention of local parents and sparked 45 inquiries and nine bookings over the next 24 hours.

“With the end of lockdown restrictions in sight, suddenly parents were messaging me saying what an awful time they’d been having and that they wanted something to look forward to,” she said. “Families have been booking the tents for the whole family – with mum and dad keen to join in, too.

“The most recent lockdown has been the hardest, mostly due to the time of year. Dull days and dark nights, with families really feeling the strain of juggling working from home and home-schooling children.

“The effect on our children has been huge and parents really want to treat them to keep their spirits up.”

Mrs Coleman, who has four children of her own – Camden, 14, Siena, 12, Tilly, nine, and Charlie, two – said the idea behind the business was about having fun.

“While my own children were growing up, I always enjoyed building tents with sheets and pegs for them, but they always ended up collapsing and wouldn’t last,” she said.

“The idea of Little Tents was originally created for birthdays, celebrations and sleepovers, but now it has become a family sleepover treat for siblings and parents alike.”

Little Tents offers different tent types and designs for hire, which are set up in the customer’s garden or home.

Packages include a tent, bed, blanket, pillow, cushion, breakfast tray, lights, bunting, lantern and, best of all, a midnight feast bag.

“In creating Little Tents, I’ve sourced products, where possible, from local shops and businesses,” said Mrs Coleman, who also acts as accounts manager for her husband’s removal company, Colemans Removals. “I always try to support Diss shops and businesses, which has become even more important during these turbulent times.

“With travelling abroad still very uncertain, I feel that my services are perfectly placed to offer adults and children a way to relax and unwind once it’s safe to do so.”

Safety measures include Covid risk assessments, a doorstep drop-and-collection service and strict quarantine and sanitising procedures.

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