Pretty much everyone has their traditional corner shop, the place where you can always nip in and buy that emergency can of tomatoes, your morning newspaper, or a cake mix for an almost forgotten birthday. But as we have all discovered over the past few weeks these corner shops have become so much more. Of course, they have supplied us with everyday essentials but they have also been some people’s only real communication to the outside world. They have exalted themselves and become the true hub of communities throughout the nation.
According to Kantar in the 3 months of March, April, May sales of independent corner shops increased by 63%. There have been exceptions, however, as stores relying on a heavy passing trade such as stores within train stations have had a hard time. But mostly they have had a very busy period of sales.
The key to their success has been the ability to adapt fast. The major stores have relied on their set delivery slots, but many corner shop owners have made multiple daily visits to cash & carry to stock on the fastest-selling items.
The terrible panic buying time of the early virus lockdown was very stressful for everyone. Rationing major food items such as rice, pasta, hand sanitizers, and toilet paper have been commonplace for most corner shop owners.
Our Local Stores
Amaan’s Fresh Fruit & Vegetables on Moss Lane in Altrincham limited the number of shoppers and a constant queue formed outside the store for food and household essentials. Their next step was to make customers’ shopping experience more personal. Taking shopping lists at the entrance and bagging items taking away the need for entering the shop. Incredibly they never seemed to run out of anything. Even flour, one of the most difficult items to purchase during lockdown, the owner purchasing large 50kg sacks of different flours and selling by weight.
Orchard Greenery in Sale is another local greengrocers. During the last 3 months during the pandemic has been offering free deliveries within the local M33 area. Customers, on some occasions, have been lucky enough to receive same-day deliveries but mostly have received our order the following day. Orchard Greenery created a dedicated delivery order telephone number and purchasing goods over the phone by card.
One customer of Orchard Greenery we spoke to said ‘The produce is fantastically fresh, well packaged and reasonably priced during these times and the fact there is no delivery charge is brilliant. On their active Facebook page, they also include a range of recipe suggestions for seasonal vegetables which is a great source of inspiration. I believe the effort they have put in during this time will mean I will continue to be a regular delivery customer in the future and I have recommended them to many family and friends.’
Proud & Strong
While we have been under lockdown driving around and see the long lines forming, particularly the ones down my road, I had a smile on my face. Once again they are serving the community unconditionally, but I also had a little concern too for those families putting themselves on the frontline. They haven’t had access to PPE like you may get for other frontline key workers. I also felt proud that they are there yet again, doing what they do brilliantly.
The exceptional service offered by these corner shops creates loyalty which will be long remembered.
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