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In response to the temporary closures that put pressure on food companies, bars, pubs and restaurants, independent businesses in Malton have united to launch a delivery service to allow residents to continue supporting local producers.
The North Yorkshire market town of Malton, known as Yorkshire’s Food Capital, is usually a thriving economy of artisan food and drink producers. Eager to support these valuable businesses during the coronavirus crisis, Malton Delivers has been set up to offer a new route to market for the town’s community of independent food businesses, whilst offering an online directory for customers to find local producers.
Residents in Malton and Ryedale can now order deliveries like locally sourced meat and fish from Food 2 Remember; homemade bread and baked goods from YO Bakehouse; local beers from Brass Castle Brewery; and fresh fruit, vegetables and groceries from Dales of Malton.
The new service is part of efforts in Malton to adapt to changes following lockdown.
“Lockdown was both a surprise and a challenge, but it has been amazing and inspiring to see how the town’s small businesses have innovated,” Tom Neylor-Leyland, director of Visit Malton, told us. “Initially there was concern with the lack of footfall coming into town, but as with anything in life, Malton’s producers and traders started thinking outside the box and began getting creative. Within a few days, many of them who had never done home delivery before were taking orders and sending deliveries out. It was truly inspirational to see how fast they adapted and how successful this new aspect of the businesses has been.
“Malton Delivers is such a great initiative. It was created by local couple Paul and Donna Middleditch, who run Ten Fathoms design agency. It is an online directory listing all the great local businesses that now deliver. It enables anyone locally to have all the information they need in one convenient location, and obviously encourages everyone to keep supporting local, which really has always been a priority for Malton as a town.
“As you can imagine, town was very quiet initially (although things are starting to pick up now, which is great!) and without our festivals and regular Monthly Food Markets there was a huge reduction in footfall. However, the lifeline of home delivery as promoted via Malton Delivers has been amazing. The businesses that adapted to home delivery (and in many cases did this in only a few days) were able to turn a negative into a positive. In that respect, I think there is a benefit of being small: it allows you to be nimble and quick-footed.”
Even as non-essential businesses begin to reopen, home delivery sales are set to remain strong for retailers, so online services such as Malton Delivers may offer a second revenue stream for some. But as Tom says, staying flexible is an important factor in addressing customer needs: “Adaptability is key, and being as open minded as possible is a huge benefit during challenges like this. No one likes forced change, but change is a constant for all business owners and indeed humans in general. Those businesses who have gone for it and adapted have really been an inspiration and found new opportunities for their business in difficult times.
“I think the home delivery option will be a regular feature for lots of our producers now. For example, Florian Poirot, a master pâtissier who makes the most incredible macaroons and chocolates has always been known locally, but now he’s selling his products right across the UK. The truth is, his is a world-class product and Florian even told me that he’s starting the process of selling his macaroons to France, so we can now boast a global reach!
“Derek Fox Butchers has gone back to a more traditional delivery approach by having a van that does the rounds to the local villages, so whether through courier or in-person delivery it’s incredible to see the Malton producers adapting to find ways to reach their customers.”
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