We asked one of our lovely businesses Newcastle Pet Supplies about how they have coped over the past few months…….
Unfortunately I had to make a difficult decision to close the shop to the public at the end of March and furlough my 3 staff members because members of the public were not adhering to the social distancing, this included restricted numbers in the shop at any one time as we are only a small shop and I had to put my staff and their families plus other customers wellbeing first.
As we sold Pet Foods we were classed as a key business so I knew I had to do something and quickly as I did not want to see family pets doing without.
We started of by increasing our delivery service to local residents to 3 times a week and we reduced the minimum order spend to just £10.00. Our Local Deliveries quadrupled within the first few weeks of lockdown so this also meant myself and my husband having to fulfil these deliveries.
I added over 1000 products to the website so those who shopped on line had more choice and it was not just pet foods and treats we also added lots of pet accessories and wild bird foods as I know a lot of our regular customers loved feeding the Wild Birds and it came at a crucial time when wild birds were nesting and feeding their young.
I also introduced Click and Collect Service twice a week at the shop door for those people who still were able to get out.
At first supplies were an issue as people panic bought bit like “the toilet roll saga” but I continued to source products for customers which included having to travel up to Preston in the early hours as our regular wholesalers were struggling to keep up with the demand.
I must admit most days I was working at least 12 hours a day including Sundays and with the majority of the time on my own.
Life has got a little easier when we reopened the doors again at the end of May and customers have now got used to queuing and keeping their social distance and that includes our four legged customers too I’m also pleased to welcome back 2 members of staff. We shall continue to do our Free Local Delivery service on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays as I know some people are still not comfortable about going out at present and we are still doing Click & Collect for any customers who wish to pre-order.