Omicron has claimed the scalp of a much-loved business in Carousel Shopping Centre that gave parents a chance to shop in peace.
Drop and Shop Creche was the brainchild of Sam and Azalea Hampson, who started the business in October 2019.
They couldn’t have predicted what was to come, with COVID devastating the retail market that fed directly into their business.
For Sam, starting the business was a no-brainer.
“We’ve got kids ourselves and we know how hard it can be to do something as simple as shopping, or even go to the movies,” he said.
“That’s why we wanted to start it, and it was a business where my wife Az could get back into the workforce and still have the kids with her.”
“As soon as COVID kicked in, just after we opened, we were in trouble.
“Lockdowns hurt us, even the five-day lockdown, that dropped our numbers for a month, people weren’t rushing to get out of the house, people had this very cautious approach and it really hurt us.”
With financial support from Westfield, Sam said after the lockdowns, the business started to grow again, with December 2021 the best month they’d had.
Then Omicron reared its ugly head, and business dropped off completely.
“When Omicron came in, we could see what was coming.
“It was the nail in the coffin
“We could really push and keep going, but the next three months are going to be a nightmare with Omicron and to be honest we’re just spent.”
While the Hampsons will miss the business, it’s the relationships they’ve formed that they will miss the most.
“I honestly feel like the people who have been putting their kids in here, people who don’t have the family support in WA and just want a break, I feel like we’re letting them down.
“We’ve seen babies grow up, we’ve seen families expand, and I didn’t think I’d be invested in that as much as I am, so it’s sad.
“If COVID had never happened, we’d still be going, absolutely.”