AS SHOPPERS are encouraged to support local businesses, one Ammanford cafe owner has spoken about the impact of Covid-19 as they prepare to fully open to the public.

Tara and Matthew James were ready for Has Beanz coffee bar and wellness centre's grand opening on College Street when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Tara, 39, who quit her job at a dental practice to start her new venture, was forced to act quickly to keep the business afloat.

The Ammanford mother-of-two said: "Blood, sweat and tears went into preparing the coffee shop, only to be told we couldn't open. It was devastating news for us, especially as I'd just left my job at the dentist.

"But we still had rates and rent to pay and I said to myself, 'come on you've got to get on with it', and we did.

"We realised we could work within the Government guidelines by offering a delivery and takeaway service."

During the first few weeks Tara said the virus had left them feeling anxious about the future and whether it was going to work. But they decided to keep moving forward with their ideas and soon business started to improve.

"We came up with different offers, afternoon tea, ploughman's boxes and picnic boxes to customers. They proved very popular and we were also fortunate to have the support of the staff at the doctor surgery and pharmacy, who relied on us to feed them as much as we relied on their custom."

Cafes in Wales are currently allowed to serve customers outdoors after the Welsh Government relaxed the lockdown rules, but Has Beanz will wait until customers are allowed indoors from August 3.

Tara said: "We don't have an outdoor area so we will continue to offer the takeaway and deliver service until we can welcome people indoors.

"The original plan was to open a cafe with wellness centre upstairs offering yoga and pilates. I am ex-forces so we have rooms available for counselling sessions for armed forces veterans with PTSD. We also sponsor the Armed Forces Bikers Wales charity.

"Matt and I always wanted to create a community hub for people to come in and relax, read a book or chat with friends. The furniture and decor at the cafe is either reclaimed or recycled - it has been - that is where the name comes from.

"But we continue to remain positive and hope that in the near future we can open the wellness centre and for now we are looking forward to invite people in on August 3 for a good chat."