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Back to the future as Shropshire milkmen overwhelmed with orders

By Nick Humphreys | South Shropshire | Coronavirus | Published:

Soaring demand from customers has seen an overwhelming number of doorstep orders placed with milkmen in Shropshire.

Peter Bull, owner of Corvedale Dairy, delivers milk to Dave Carter who runs Carters of Ludlow

They used to be a much more common sight for early birds, humming around in their floats in the small hours delivering fresh pints for people to pour on their cereal and in their morning brews.

But in modern times the milk delivery industry has faced a huge decline.

Now though, as the threat of Covid-19 becomes more prevalent, milkmen are experiencing something of a renaissance.

Corvedale Dairy, run by Peter Bull, is doing its best to cope as it struggles with an influx of new orders.

Mr Bull said: “It’s going a bit mad at the moment. I’ve never known anything like it. It started about a week ago. It’s mainly the older people that have been phoning and asking for deliveries because they’re worried about going out.

“We took on seven new customers today. We’re having to turn quite a lot away because they’re a bit too far out.”

Elsewhere in Shropshire, the Cotteswold Dairies’ Shrewsbury branch has had to call in extra staff as reinforcements to deal with the additional workload as more people self-isolate and call for deliveries.

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Milk & More in Shifnal has had to stop accepting new trade, saying: “We are really sorry, but due to the unprecedented demand on our service and the huge numbers of new customers that have signed up in the last few days, we have had to temporarily stop accepting new customers.” People even had to queue as they tried to access its website.

Teme Dairy has also had to turn away customers and won’t be accepting anyone new until further notice.

Mr Bull delivers about 700 to 800 pints a day and is doing his best to keep on top of things as his rounds increase.

He added: “I’m a one-man outfit. I’ve been doing this for 22 years. I’ve now probably got more customers than I can cope with. I don’t like letting people down.

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“The trade has picked up quite a bit in the last 12 months. A lot of people want to change from plastic to bottles because it’s better for the environment. And now with this it has become a lot busier.

“Our milk comes from Cotteswold Dairies. They’re worried about drivers going down with the virus.”

Corvedale also delivers to several local businesses, many of which are now not ordering milk due to being shut for Covid-19. But Mr Bull is confident they’ll be back once the epidemic dies down. The challenge will be retaining new customers who have taken a trip back in time to have their milk delivered.

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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