Indies go above and beyond in coronavirus response  

Photo: Facebook/Nisa Local (Prudhoe)

As coronavirus situation increasingly worsens, independent retailers have started to take community spirited steps to ensure their vulnerable customers are being looked after.

Retailers are taking to social media to offer a range of extended services to their customers.

In Essex, Alan Carr of Newport Village Stores in Saffron Walden, is offering a free delivery service to anyone in self isolation or any elderly people concerned about the virus and so not wanting to leave their homes.

In a post on the store’s Facebook page, details have also been published of the quietest times in the shop so customers can choose to visit when the fewest number of people are about.

Alan said: “There will be a leaflet drop next week but if people know of anyone not on Facebook with concerns, we’re asking them to inform them and spread the word.”

At Nisa Local Prudhoe in Northumberland, Miv Chahal has offered free delivery of goods to shoppers via a social media post after a shopper rang the store desperate for some juice but unable to get out.

“Whilst driving to the house thought to myself, how many other people are unable to collect their own shopping? So, I have posted a notice to say that if anyone knows of any elderly people who are struggling to get out but may need shopping, that we are happy to deliver around the local area,” he said.

The Facebook post concluded: “As this virus takes hold, let’s look after our elderly neighbours in this time of need.”

Similar steps have been taken by many other retailers including Molly’s in Luton, Dallam Stores in Warrington and in Stalbridge, where Dike and Son are taking orders by internet as well as telephone, encouraging those not online to “just write a list and ring us up during shop opening hours”.

At M&S Nisa Local in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire, the store took to social media to urge shoppers to “think before you buy”, posting a polite request encouraging customers not to panic buy and reassuring them supplies are still arriving in store.

Nisa Local Whitehills Supermarket in Northampton have introduced refill stations for hand sanitiser, anti-bacterial surface cleaner and similar products, enabling shoppers to bring their own containers and fill them with their required solutions.

In Walsall, the Singh family took steps to secure hand sanitiser which they then distributed, free of charge, in 5l bottles to charities, schools, churches, food banks and other community organisations.

They also reassured shoppers via social media about supplies: “We’re working hard to keep all lines available and so far, we’ve not run out of anything. We have large stock reserves and will do everything we can to serve you, with absolutely no hiked prices.”

Amrit Singh posted on Twitter: “I’m using this time to reassure my customers we’re doing everything we can to be there for them!”