Coronavirus: Shropshire farmshops and independent food stores see increase in demand
As panic-buyers storm supermarkets and clear the shelves, farm shops and independent stores throughout Shropshire are seeing business boom amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Keith Alderson Butchers, in Bridgnorth, reported trade doubling in recent weeks and has even had staff members cancel their annual leave to meet demand.
The shop in Sydney Cottage Drive has also widened its delivery parameter and pulled in additional volunteers to reach isolated members of the community.
Co-owner Julia Spencer is working from home to reduce the risk of infection, but said her skills were still being utilised in order to keep customers supplied.
"As I'm pregnant I'm not at the shop at the moment and as we're serving more than 250 customers a day, if I were to serve 80 that's still quite a high risk.
"But I'm still staying productive, as at the moment we're just so busy. It's been crazy over the last few weeks – people are panic buying and then others are using local shops like ours.
"We've always done free local delivery but we've gathered some volunteers who for the coming Mondays will help us deliver to isolated people.
"We've widened our delivering scope to reach out to the most vulnerable people on the outskirts of town and further afield."
Mrs Spencer added that making sure vulnerable and isolated residents could continue to stay well fed was vital in rural areas.
She said: "We want people to have access to nutritional food in this time of need, as it's increasingly important to stay as healthy as possible.
"It's tempting to fill your freezer full of pizza, but you need to stay healthy and eat good food.
"Business has probably doubled for us here. It's good people are coming here, they should be eating good, nutritional food.
"We must say thanks to the staff, we're really happy with how everyone's been powering through and helping each other.
"We've had people cancel their time off to help us work through this. It really is a case of everyone pulling together."