There isn’t a lot of good news at this point in time, so when you hear about a local company achieving success, we can all revel in the positivity. There is a strong sense of community in Camberwell, and it is great to see local firms reach out helping people and other businesses.
An example of a local firm performing in this manner is Smith & Brock, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. This is a company which started in 2016, and they deliver some of the finest and freshest produce to bars, restaurants and hotels across London.
Of course, with these venues shutting down because of COVID-19, the duo running the business claimed that 90% of their business vanished overnight when lockdown measures were introduced. The company, which serves venues such as the Hotel Café Royal and Le Gavroche in Mayfair, was turning over more than £15m on an annual basis.
Delivery services are in high demand
Fearing the worst, the brothers which run the company set up plans to run a home delivery service, and they started supplying the ingredients and recipes which previously went to top-class restaurants to the general public. The company is called Knock Knock and switching to domestic customers has helped the company survive.
Nick Fowler said: “It was quite worrying at first. We saw pretty much all of our orders dry up practically overnight. We had thought about setting up a home delivery business and were planning to launch one much later in the year. But after the lockdown was announced I got straight on to our marketing company and said we need this home delivery website now. One of our drivers is part of a community WhatsApp group in Dulwich and he put a message in there saying we were doing deliveries and it just exploded. He got about 3,000 messages back, 5,000 emails. It went crazy.”
The company has also partnered with other London businesses to ensure domestic customers have a fantastic range of products to choose from. Teaming up with a steak restaurant such as Smith and Wollensky and butchers and bakers ensures that customers can enjoy meat, roast boxes and all manner of treats, delivered directly to their door.
Online services will likely become even more popular
This online service has enabled them to ensure furloughed staff members have received 100% pay, and they hope the business can return to normal in time for the festive season.
Mr Fowler said: “Some of our staff have been working 12-hour shifts to get everything out. Everyone has really pulled together. It’s really important for us to be supporting local businesses. The bigger supermarkets were quite slow off the ground in getting the extra deliveries sorted. We had people chasing down our trucks saying ‘have you got fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, we’ll pay extra for them’. Fresh produce was like liquid gold at the beginning of this. We aren’t doing the sort of numbers we usually do, but it’s keeping us going.”
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