Not all doom and gloom for Shropshire businesses during pandemic
For many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has proved to be the toughest challenge they've ever had to face.
With their customers under lockdown, shops shuttered, cashflow drying up and their staff on furlough, they have wondered how they're going to survive.
For other businesses who have been struggling for several years, the coronavirus crisis has proved to be the final straw.
Carpet maker Brintons has announced it is closing its Telford factory with dozens of jobs axed, retailer Laura Ashley is set to make another 57 staff at its Newtown factories redundant, and there are doubts over the future of Shrewsbury-based furniture retailer Alan Ward.
But it has not been doom and gloom for all businesses, and there are those who have been taking advantage of new commercial opportunities during the crisis.
In March, Market Drayton-based dairy giant Müller launched a major recruitment drive for up to 300 additional key workers to help feed the nation during the pandemic.
It followed strong consumer demand for dairy products like fresh milk, yoghurts and butter.
Earlier this month chilled pastry producer Addo Food Group announced it was looking to expand its team with 65 new jobs at its Palethorpes bakery in Market Drayton.
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It comes in response to the increased production demands of the company’s range of savoury products during the crisis and the expansion of new product lines at the site.
Parcel delivery giant DPD, which has its headquarters in the West Midlands, has also revealed it is creating 6,000 jobs after a boom in online shopping.
DPD will be investing £200 million to expand its UK network to meet the "unprecedented" surge in demand for its next-day parcel services.
The company is spending £100 million on vehicles, £60 million on 15 new regional depots and the rest on stepping up technology.
Anton Gunter, managing director of Telford-based Global Freight Services, said there had been peaks and troughs in activity over the last three months.
“Initially, when the Government announced lockdown our clients were nervous about continuing as if it were business as usual and we saw the movement of goods tail off a little. Then as many businesses began diversifying their product range to respond to demands during the pandemic, particularly for PPE equipment, bookings for shipments and road deliveries surged.
“There have been significant challenges to work around, with overseas territories closing to the import and export of goods, closure of some ports and increasing air freight costs but we’ve continued to support new and existing customers throughout the pandemic. We’ve been able to provide advice to clients and support them with getting the movement of their goods back on track and it really has been a feeling of we’re all in this together.
“There now seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel so let’s hope things keep moving in the right direction and Shropshire businesses can come out on the other side together.”