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How Innovative Independent Retailers Have Adapted To Provide For Customers

How Innovative Independent Retailers Have Adapted To Provide For Customers

The UK government imposed a lockdown earlier this week, in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This meant that non-essential shops up and down the country were forced to close their doors.

During this unprecedented pandemic, there's no saying when non-essential stores will be able to reopen again.

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Many smaller businesses were thrown into uncertainty and panic. Owners were left wondering if they were going to be able to come through the other side unscathed.

But some businesses have decided to rethink the way they do things in a bid to try and survive - meaning the can still connect to their customers, as well as maybe appealing to some new ones.

Although supermarkets are still open, this is the perfect time to stand together in support of smaller producers and other creative enterprises that may otherwise, in the worst of situations, never trade again.

You might wonder how you can help. For a start, many fruit and vegetable stockists around the country will be delivering - at a time when chain supermarkets are running at full capacity.

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Take R Noone & Son for example. One of Manchester's longest-standing suppliers to many of the city's restaurants, pubs and bars is now offering delivery or collection for grocery boxes which include bread, milk, butter and eggs, as well as a variety of fruit, salad and other vegetables such as onions and cabbage. You can even add additional items to your boxes, such as meat, fish and rice.

The family-run company is also offering deliveries to schools and nursing homes.

Unlike R Noone & Son, who only deliver within a 60 mile radius of Manchester City Centre, Direct Meats offer a nationwide service.

Chelsea-based greengrocer andreas is operating throughout the UK for anyone wanting fresh fruit, veg, groceries, cheese and charcuterie.

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While many of us are opting to drink our way through the next three weeks of self-isolation (responsibly), pubs and bars across the country are offering delivery services to keep them in business, now that their customers can't come to them directly.

Take the guys at 161 Food and Drink in Sydenham, London, for example. They're offering a 'milk round' but with wine instead of the white stuff. They're even reassuring customers with a no-contact drop off service.

Many of your favourite independent traders have turned to the internet for help. With jewellers, vintage clothing stores and gift-ware companies moving towards a presence that only exists online.

Take Manchester's Afflecks, a well-established and popular independent shopping emporium. The retailers operating from Afflecks are trying to stay afloat by giving people the ability to still order bespoke gifts and vouchers from a raft of their independent makers and shops.

Afflecks Palace, Manchester, is closed but the retailers inside will be operating online. Credit: Afflecks Palace
Afflecks Palace, Manchester, is closed but the retailers inside will be operating online. Credit: Afflecks Palace

If you don't physically need anything right now but have the means to still help, you could buy vouchers to spend at certain bars and restaurants when the pandemic passes.

A business optimisation agency wanting to make a difference has set up a fund to 'pay it forward' as a way of helping local businesses during these challenging times.

User Conversion has set up an fund, pledging £2,000 ($2,350) to provide their favourite local bars, restaurants and coffee shops with the short-term support they need.

The proceeds will go towards gift vouchers which staff can spend on the business of their choosing, which can be used at a later date when people are back on their feet.

These are difficult times, but there are ways to adapt. And who knows - when we do come through this, we might have found some new favourite brands or businesses away from the big boys on the high street.

Let's all bring some positivity, support and fun to anyone who might find themselves in isolation as a result of the coronavirus spread. Need some entertainment? Join Isolation Nation: https://www.facebook.com/groups/coronasupport/

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: UK Community, Coronavirus, Community, UK

Rebecca Shepherd

I'm Becky - a journalist at LADbible. I graduated with a First Class BA in Journalism before going on to cover criminal court cases, medical tribunals and breaking news for the national media - which inevitably and eventually became as glum as it sounds. Can often be found rocking a bag for life - which I made a 'thing' way before Rihanna. You can contact me at [email protected]