How local businesses are responding during Covid-19 Pandemic

Local SME businesses are diversifying their supply chains and offering different ways to deliver their products to market, to cope with the crisis.

One example is local Ipswich bakery Krustys, which is offering bread packages online. So, for example, customers can pay £9 for multiple rolls and two loaves of bread initially – this has been expanded to include smaller orders. In addition, the company is dropping off supplies to the Post Office next-door and to Victoria Nurseries in Ipswich. The plant nursery also sells food and so can be open at the moment because it is selling "essential items" such as basic groceries.

Another good example in Ipswich is the marvellous Victoria Nurseries. People must spend a minimum of £5 on food and are not legally allowed just to buy plants, otherwise they are breaking trading/ licensing laws. Due to the easier shopping experience compared to the large supermarkets and high stock levels of everyday, grocery items, sales are up massively compared to the usual peak period of Christmas, when many people order their Christmas trees from him. Another reason for its success, is that due to the lockdown people are doing more gardening and so buying compost, roses, geraniums, tomato bedding, and other plants, from him.

Word of mouth is proving very important in smaller communities. For example, in Woodbridge, the Woodbridge Kitchen Shop’s owner is offering to deliver other shop's supplies to local residents. He will deliver fruit and vegetables from the local greengrocers and has offered to put people in touch with other businesses. So, in this instance it seems that joining forces with other small businesses may help goods and services still reach customers.

Amy Ross, CIM East of England Communications Ambassador