For some businesses during the past six months, trade has remained steady and, intriguingly, may even offer a glimpse of how firms may operate in the future as we emerge into a ‘new normal’.
In the case of Carlisle firm Inter Fresh, wholesale suppliers for Cumbria & South West Scotland, this year has been one of innovation and adaptation.
Owner Will Box explains that the business, which has been running for four years, has been able to carve itself a new niche off the back of a new innovative home delivery service that launched earlier this year. “We launched Boxed Fresh earlier this year. Initially from January and February time, we were selling about 30 or 40 boxes a week. The first week of lockdown, though, we sold about 900 and so there was a massive upsurge in interest,” he states.
“With Inter Fresh, we were operating about eight vans a week.
"We already had the infrastructure there to support it during lockdown and we had the delivery network to be able to cope which was fortunate for us. “Through summer when the pubs and restaurants reopened, the boxes did ease off but we’re still selling around 400 to 500 boxes every week and we’re now pretty well established.”
Mr Box has now merged the concepts of the two sides of his business to deliver Christmas trees to customers who may still feel uncomfortable leaving their houses during this period.
“We sell the trees from our warehouse, normally, in Caldewgate and deliver them through Inter Fresh to shops and the general public.
"But this year we now have established a customer base on the delivery side through Boxed Fresh and so it seemed like the right thing to do to essentially sell our Christmas trees in this way also.
"We are also selling holly wreaths this way also, with free delivery. It’s handy for people at this time of year and especially due to the current circumstances with lockdown where people might be a bit more wary of going out. With us, they can count on the quality and being good value for money.”
For Will, businesses such as Inter Fresh in the ‘new normal’ will probably operate in this way moving forward.
“Initially we had a few problems with making sure the older generations were able to access everything but I think that there’s a lot more people getting used to things now.”
“When you combine it with people getting on the back of supporting local, you can see that there’s an appetite for the online side of things."
Source: News and Star