Adjusting to news ways of doing business
A DALE farm shop has been operating a contact-free delivery service for the past five weeks since the coronavirus lockdown was introduced and has seen an increasing demand for their freshly-prepared ready meals.
Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop, on the A66, was one of the first businesses in Teesdale to offer a home delivery service to customers and have now settled into their new routine.
Deborah Hare, manager at Cross Lanes said: “We’ve had to adapt the business completely and unfortunately have had to furlough some staff, though we have got a skeleton team in the shop to keep things running.
“The deliveries are running okay now, but we’ve had to find our feet with this. We have set days for different areas and so as soon as things are loaded up, Peter [Coverdale] is off in the van.”
A grab and go station, where customers can pick up their own pre-ordered supplies outside the premises, has also proved popular.
She added: “It’s a completely no contact service. We drop their order and then they can pick up safely.
“We have had to change things in the business as some of our suppliers have struggled. But we are trying to look after local suppliers, who are just trying to get by like we are.”
With customers unable to visit the farm shop’s cafe and restaurant she says there has been an increased demand for their pre-prepared meals.
She said: “They have always been available in the shop, but I suppose because people are stuck at home there is a much bigger demand for them.
“We have never bought so much fruit and vegetables before but are all having to adapt at the moment.
“It’s been great to talk to our customers, old and new on the phone and email, but we can’t wait to meet them in person when we reopen.”
Mr Coverdale added: “We threw a lot of money into getting the new outside seating area ready for this year. It’s finished but we can’t have anyone here. But it’ll be here when this is all over and it’ll be great to have people back.”