Normal businesses have had to evolve to the challenges placed by COVID. Businesses are under threat as they try to juggle earning a living, restrictions and having to completely change their plans. Newer companies have struggled to stay afloat the most; Pola showcases how to adapt to new problems and overcome difficulties.
Isaac Tambrini, 24, started up Pola two summers ago.
The business focuses on fresh ice poles that are vegan and locally sourced.
Pola gets most of its business in the summer season by attending festivals and going around Nottingham city centre selling to passers-by.
Due to the pandemic, Pola has struggled to get as much business as they have missed out on their busiest season.
The owner is hopeful that this summer will be different with lockdown restrictions easing.
Isaac said: “My business has been effected by COVID in quite a few ways.
“Overnight all of our events and festivals were cancelled.
“A lot of cafes, pubs and independent businesses we worked with closed, so I had to transition and focus on local deliveries instead.”
(Isaac outside a store he is stocked in)
Pola has adapted to restrictions by doing home delivery or collections.
Isaac has taken the time to renovate his warehouse, focus on new recipes and plan for summer.
He now has an ice-cream that he hopes to take to festivals and make delivering easier.
The coronavirus has not stopped him from branching out of his business.
Last September Pola was awarded three great tastes awards.
The business has also launched into retail at Eat17 stores in London.
Despite COVID setbacks, Isaac has shown how to keep a business afloat during these unprecedented times.
He had plans to start up his own business since being a teenager.
Wanting to follow in his great-grandfather’s footsteps, who founded a chain of ice cream shops in Wales, his enterprise remains family orientated.
Isaac added: “My inspiration behind the business was coming from an Italian family.
“Growing up food has always been close to my heart.
“I got interested in starting up my own business after graduating.
“I wanted time to put thought into it and that is how it started.”
Since the company’s beginning, Pola has changed to a new design and doubled in the amount of ice poles available on their menu.
COVID has given Isaac the opportunity to work more behind the scenes and get a better idea about the future.
He added: “My long-term plan currently is to get stocked in a lot more places, so supermarkets and more independent places.
“It’s also to scale up our events side so that would be doing more festivals.”
The ambitious owner has been working with food scientists at University of Nottingham to create ‘freeze at home’ ice poles that can be mailed.
Isaac already has his ice poles stocked in places all over Nottingham.
The Natural Food Company, based in Nottingham city centre has stocked Pola for around a year.
Rachel Preston, 39, the owner said: “They (Pola) contacted us via Instagram and kindly came in with some samples for us to try.
“We stock coffee, mango, chocolate, strawberries and cream and elderflower flavours.
“My previous favourite is the chocolate!”
Rachel’s business is a health food store that sells vegan products, supplements, and healthy foods.
Luckily, her company has been able to stay open throughout the pandemic, but sales have still been affected.
Rachel believes the decrease in sales is due to lower footfall in Nottingham throughout the pandemic.
Alike to Pola, The Natural Food Company has also struggled as an independent business due to COVID.
That has not stopped Pola from using locally and naturally sourced fruits for his ice poles.
Many of the ingredients are homegrown or hand-picked from local places.
St. Ann’s allotment is a place where Isaac picks out his local apples to create a spiced apple butter blend for his festival gelato poles.
Issac creates flavours due to seasonal desires, his current menu features chocolate, alphonso mango and strawberries and vanilla.
The entrepreneur said: “We get a lot of produce locally.
“We get our coffee from 200 degrees coffee where it is roasted.
“Our elderflower is from Nottingham.
“My favourite flavour is the lemon and lime.
“I like it because when it is sunny out and hot it is just really refreshing and zesty.”
Isaac hopes to sell his favourite flavour this summer and is eyeing up some Nottingham festivals to hopefully be a part of.
He added: “Our plan for this summer is to launch our own website.
“We will be doing the local Nottingham markets and festivals.
“We will also be targeting London whilst carrying on our local delivery.
“We aim to sell to the whole of Nottingham.”
Currently, Pola only delivers within a five mile radius.
Covering Wollaton, West Bridgford and up to Arnold.
Pola has taken difficulties in its stride and despite setbacks are still very positive for the future.
Isaac added: “What has kept me going is the fact that there is no overnight success.
“I knew it was going to take a good few years of hard work to get the ball rolling.
“I know the direction I’m going in is fine so I’m excited for the future.”
The Nottingham-based entrepreneur plans to introduce new flavours, possible alcoholic poles and expand his warehouse.
Watch out for his cart in Nottingham and look out for him at local festivities.
To find out more visit https://www.wearepola.com/where-to-find-us.