Andrew Thomas: What our businesses have achieved this year

It’s been another difficult past 12 months for business.

They have had to cope with the various twists and turns of restrictions and rules put in place to combat Covid – and uncertainty still remains as the Omicron variant spreads through the country.

Thankfully the strong innovative and entrepreneurial spirit shown by many firms has continued to bring expansion and success.

A recent edition of The Westmorland Gazette was full of stories illustrating this.

There was news the historic and world-famous Grasmere Gingerbread® was thriving, with orders coming from as far away as Hawaii and Chile.

More? The Artisan Bakery at Staveley and furniture business Peter Hall & Son featured in Channel 4’s Christmas special of A Lake District Farm Shop, which focuses on the highly-successful Tebay Services Farmshop and Kitchen and its suppliers.

Businessman Grant Smith is preparing to open The White House at Bowness after spending 14 months breathing new life into the Grade 11 listed guesthouse. Extensive works have seen a complete transformation of the building.

Also in Bowness the team which runs the regular markets at the Glebe ran their first festive market to get visitors into the Christmas spirit. The event included a host of entertainment, including Astral Circus, a brass band and jugglers, as well as local traders.

Meanwhile down the A65 near Austwick the award-winning Courtyard Dairy has just got bigger.

The business, owned by Andy Swinscoe and his wife, originally occupied a space of just 16 square metres, before expanding into the former Yorkshire Dales Falconry Centre. Now the shop has been substantially enlarged to allow more space to mature, display and offer for sale cheeses while ensuring a safe distance between customers is maintained.

Courtyard Dairy is a great place to visit and you can sample the many artisan-made farm cheeses on offer before you decide which ones to buy.

So, as we enter 2022, whatever happens in the coming weeks we can be assured our local businesses have the drive and talent to meet the challenges.

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs