An entrepreneur who started his furniture business with just one sofa bought from Marks & Spencer 20 years ago has secured a loan from Lloyds Bank to help trade through COVID-19.
Cy Fogel has agreed a £302,000 package via the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to support his furniture retail business, You’re Furnished, which also has a wholesale division that supplies independent retailers across the UK.
The funding will help Cy pay suppliers, with £400,000 of stock currently being shipped over from Asia in 20 containers.
Since the COVID-19 lockdown, You’re Furnished has been forced to close its store – a 67,000 sq ft unit next to Stansted Airport in Essex – and demand from wholesale customers has slumped. Seventeen of its 21 staff have been furloughed.
Cy, a former clothing designer, founded the business in 1999 after being offered a sofa rejected by Marks & Spencer which he later sold. You’re Furnished has been a Lloyds Bank customer since it was founded.
Cy said: “This is undoubtedly the greatest threat our business has faced. All the shops we supply stock to are closed, so we can’t sell them any of the stock we are shipping over from Asia, and our own store is shut too.
“The support from Lloyds Bank has been a lifeline. They know our business is capital intensive, but we are successful and viable and this funding will allow us trade through lockdown. Once restrictions are lifted I’m confident we’ll be quickly back on our feet.”
Stuart Wiggins, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, added: “Cy has a great company and loyal customers in both his retail and wholesale businesses. The lockdown introduced since COVID-19 hit the UK has posed clear and present danger to retailers and especially those importing large amounts of stock.
“Our funding means Cy and the team have the working capital available to continue to operate until furniture shops reopen.”