Covid-19 Update 3

06 April 2020, 09:21 am
Speciality Bites by Paul Hargreaves

So, we are in week three of lock-down and I am expecting at least another three weeks.

What has changed over the past few days, if anything? The clamour for flour and pasta has calmed down a little, although our suppliers still cannot keep up with our demand. When and if they catch up and shop’s shelves are full again, then I do the store cupboard stock-piling will calm down. The latest run on products includes eggs and I heard from several retailers last week that they were also struggling to keep their fruit and veg areas stocked up.

I must repeat how amazing many independent retailers have been in realising they are a vital part of their local community. It has been extremely hard work for them but when this is all over they will have so much loyalty from existing and new customers that their businesses will thrive. And all this will be over at some point, though it may not feel like you can see the end right now. As I mentioned last week many retailers have started home deliveries for the first time, and we are trying to support them in that. At Cotswold Fayre, whilst we are in a good position to be able to supply consumers direct ourselves, we won’t be doing that. We are choosing to support our many retail customers who are still open and thriving.

Three words have been special to me over the past week:
Collaboration: Like no other time in my business experience we are seeing collaboration between businesses and individuals which can only be progress for after Covid-19 is over. I hope we continue in this spirit of collaboration and move away from the zero sum game (if she wins if he loses). We can both win together and I think that is becoming clearer.

Adaptation: Businesses have had to flex, shift and completely change what they are doing and how they are doing it. The ability to move quickly is an essential ability in the 21st century business world. Other events in the future will mean that we need to change how we do stuff, so the ability to be agile and quick many of us are learning in these difficult weeks.

Interruption: Without doubt this pandemic is the largest interruption to business since World War II. Rather than being frustrated, count it as a blessing. Time to reflect, spend time with family, re-assess our life purpose, our career, our business. This could be just the interruption you need to lift your head up from the plough and to veer off the straight and narrow and explore new fields and pastures. (Apologies for the mixed metaphors). At Cotswold Fayre we had a huge shock to the business in 2014, which I talk about in my book, Forces for Good. I didn’t feel so at the time, but with hindsight it was the best thing that has ever happened to us. We re-built the company with its new DNA from that point, which currently means that we are brimming with energy and resilience today. And I hope many of you are too.

Stay safe and keep calm.

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