Buy Local is the North Yorkshire market place linking businesses with customers to help people shop locally.
Residents of North Yorkshire are being asked to think long term about shopping local.
Buy Local provides more than 800 businesses and tradespeople, all in one place, so searching for what you need is easy. Whether you need a last-minute Christmas gift, or an emergency plumber!
Many of the retailers on Buy Local are offering Christmas gifts, food and drink deliveries and festive treats, but the Dales Christmas Market has gone one step further by creating a virtual Christmas market.
Buy Local is our one stop shop for local businesses, including nearly 200 food retailers offering in store or online shopping, click and collect or local delivery.
From cheese to cakes, and hampers to beer, all can be found on Buy Local.
Wensleydale Creamery joined Buy Local to promote their range of foods and Christmas gifts. Sandra Bell, Marketing Manager said “When you shop with us you are also supporting 40 local farmers who supply us with milk, as well as our Yorkshire cheese partners Shepherds Purse and Yorkshire Halloumi, plus fantastic local food producers and craftsmen who create our unique cheeseboards and gifts.”
Search Buy Local and make your Christmas shopping count.
Covid-safe businesses can register for free advertising on the site – sign up today!
As we enter a key period in the most difficult year many businesses will have endured, we are appealing to residents to think of North Yorkshire businesses first when shopping in the run-up to Christmas.
Our Buy Local directory brings together local businesses and services in one place to provide an easy way to search for whatever you need. It was set up in March and hundreds of local businesses have signed up so far to shout about what they can offer. It’s a one-stop shop connecting businesses and customers.
Richard Flinton, Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “The run-up to Christmas is a crucial time for many businesses, and we’ll all be thinking about our Christmas shopping. As they deal with the impact of the national restrictions, I urge everybody to think and buy local – think of North Yorkshire businesses first. Many of our businesses have great online and delivery or click and collect offers, and we have nearly 800 businesses that can be accessed on Buy Local.
“Even if they are classed as ‘non-essential’ and their high street shops are closed, a lot of the businesses on Buy Local can still serve you online or over the phone – they need your custom more than ever.”
Charlotte Gale, owner of Charlotte Gale photography based in Knaresborough, and online greeting card business, said: “November and December are key trading periods for many small businesses, with some making as much as 90 per cent of their annual profits during this time. Retailers have already ordered and paid for their stock and many are now being asked to close at their busiest time of year. This affects suppliers like myself, too, who usually sell our products in local independent shops and at events such as Christmas markets. I have a range of Yorkshire, animal and foodie Christmas cards and November is my peak sales month, especially as my cards appeal to people wanting to send festive greetings abroad.
“The Buy Local Directory gives me an easy and effective way of promoting my online Christmas card shop to a wider audience and helps make up for some of my lost retail earnings.”
On Buy Local, you can search for anything from a plumber or an electrician to someone who can deliver veg to your doorstep. You will find one-man bands, and great North Yorkshire brands. All businesses on Buy Local should abide by government restrictions.
Another small business which has had to evolve and re-invent itself constantly this year is Spring House Farm Shop near Northallerton. Owner Neil Hellawell said of the local restrictions: “We’ve changed an awful lot, we’d already geared up, we knew what was coming.”
Neil and his partner, Judith, have switched from a cosy café to offering most of their food business as takeaway. They have also gone out of their way to help customers feel safe by offering a Covid-secure ‘Call and Collect’ service and putting stringent safety measures in place in their shop.
Of their ‘Call and Collect’ service Neil said: “It’s nowhere near the amount of boxes that we did last time, however we do know that there’s quite a few come into the shop to do their own shopping because they say they need sanity, and an excuse to come out of the house. And they say they feel safe to come into our place, so that’s positive, and we have seen an increase in people coming in the shop and getting their weekly shop now.
“For our Covid-secure call and collect we’ve just invested a bit more, we’ve bought a contactless card machine, which means we can go outside and take a payment, so if customers don’t want to pay over the phone they don’t have to.”
Summing up the fresh challenges their business faces in the run-up to Christmas, Neil said: “It’s trying to plan ahead with what people want – it’s hard work trying to guess what people are going to come in for and then make sure we have it.
“We’ve got a Christmas menu already done for the month of December – presently it’s takeaway, but if we are allowed to re-open the outdoor dining area, we will be doing it out there. Yes, you have to have your coat on, but we’re in a different world now, aren’t we? We always say what we make in December we lose in January and February and we always have. So yes, it is usually a busy period.”
Richard Flinton added: “We will continue to support North Yorkshire businesses however we can. Our Trading Standards team is offering free advice to businesses looking to diversify or to find new ways of offering goods and services, and the Local Enterprise Partnership runs regular webinars, which are detailed on our website.”
Find more information or follow @northyorkscc on social media.
Get information about the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Buy Local, North Yorkshire’s local business directory, is celebrating 750 local suppliers signing up.
Buy Local was launched by North Yorkshire County Council at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to connect local people with businesses and services operating in their local area during pandemic restrictions. This supported residents and local businesses during the crisis.
Although lockdown may have lifted, it is still as important as ever to buy local. Using local traders means the local economy is strengthened and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis will be swifter.
Tiny changes in habits and switching to a local butcher, greengrocer or baker for a couple of items in your big shop could really make a difference.
The Leader of the County Council, Cllr Carl Les, said: “Buying locally is incredibly important, now more than ever after the Covid-19 pandemic. The Buy Local directory makes it easier for local people to find what they need.
“We’d like to thank not just every business who has signed up, but every single person who has used these businesses for their takeaways, weekly shop. It’s incredibly important.”
Find local businesses on Buy Local, or if you are a local business owner who has not yet registered, sign up now.
The Buck Inn, Thornton Watlass
Vicki, the landlady of The Buck Inn, has been at the heart of her community running the pub for six years.
When the pandemic hit, she signed up to Buy Local and launched a food delivery service. So although the doors of her pub were physically closed, she was still providing a vital service to local people. Now, Vicki has safely opened the doors once more.
She said: “I’ve been here six years and had great support from day one from the locals. I’m lucky that it is very much a locals-driven pub, we don’t have a shop in the village, we have a lovely village school and the church and the hall, but we don’t have anything else.
“During the pandemic, I couldn’t have just stayed shut.
“We have two brilliant guys who work for us, who wanted to earn money through the pandemic as college had ended and our two chefs, too, so I was able to keep them on doing the takeaway orders and we were able to furlough the rest of our staff during that time.”
Now Vicki has reopened the doors of the pub and regulars are flooding back in safely. She says giving back to her community as a landlady is just in her blood.
She said: “When I was younger, my parents had a small hotel, and then a larger hotel which I went on to manage. When local people give you business, you have to see what you can do for them to give back. It’s a two-way system.”
Proper Pizzas, East Cowton
Mark, who owns Proper Pizzas, a pizza restaurant and takeaway based in an old horse van, knows the importance of buying local (and a good pizza).
He set up Proper Pizzas three and a half years ago, inspired to do so by the struggles he had getting a good takeaway pizza delivered to the small village where he lives.
Mark has always appreciated the importance of buying locally.
He said: “I try to buy a lot of my produce locally. If we can get what we need from a local business, then we absolutely should. A lot of those places were open and had stuff in when the bigger supermarkets didn’t. We should all switch our attention to supporting our local community, because it’s important.
“If there’s one good thing to come out of this pandemic I hope it’s that, continuing to support local businesses.”
Mark signed up to Buy Local at the start of the pandemic. Having catered for takeaways and food markets, he switched to doing events like weddings last year. Although he was fully booked, the pandemic meant most of his business was postponed until next year. But Mark remains positive, always looking at the glass half full.
He added: “We’ve basically had all our business wiped out for a year. At first people who had us booked for their wedding rescheduled to a date later in the year, then when it became clear that wouldn’t happen, next year.
“Obviously you do worry about these things, but looking at the key workers across North Yorkshire and the effort they’ve gone to during this pandemic, it does make me feel relieved and lucky.
“I like to look at it that my glass is always half full. That business isn’t lost, it’s just moved to next year and I do appreciate that. The business overall has given me a completely different pace of life.”
Mark’s message to the community is to use Buy Local – because small habits can make a big difference.
He said: “It’s not people buying all their goods from farmers’ markets. Just changing your habits a little bit. Small businesses like mine would appreciate buying meat from the butchers, fruit and veg from the local veg shop, beer from the off licence.
“Those small and often habits will give small businesses like mine in the area stability and a chance to flourish in the future.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, times have been hard for everyone.
But some members of our community are determined to use teamwork and search for positives that can come out of this terrible situation.
One man who has done this is Mark Craggs, who owns Proper Pizzas.
Mark says if there’s one small good thing to come from the pandemic, he hopes it keeps people buying produce locally.
That’s why he signed up to Buy Local, North Yorkshire County Council’s directory of local businesses and services, all in one place to provide an easy way to search for whatever you need.
720 local businesses have signed up so far – Buy Local is a one-stop shop connecting businesses and customers.
Mark set up Proper Pizzas three years ago, converting a horsebox into a portable pizza parlour with a wood-fired oven with his wife, Emma.
He was expecting a busy year, having started taking bookings for weddings. But when Covid-19 hit, the weddings were postponed and Mark was forced to think about the future – but instead of worrying, it made him realise how lucky he is and the importance of buying locally.
He said: “I try to buy a lot of my produce locally. If we can get what we need from a local business, then we absolutely should.
“A lot of those places were open and had stuff in when the bigger supermarkets didn’t. We should all switch our attention to supporting our local community, because it’s important. If there’s one good thing to come out of this pandemic I hope it’s that, continuing to support local businesses.”
Proper Pizzas began after Mark struggled to get a takeaway pizza in his village, Pepper Arden near East Cowton, so began making his own. With a friend, this developed into converting the horsebox and selling pizzas at farmer’s markets plus doing takeaways, before starting to cater weddings and events.
He said: “We’ve basically had all our business wiped out for a year. At first people who had us booked for their wedding rescheduled to a date later in the year, then when it became clear that wouldn’t happen, next year.
“Obviously you do worry about these things, but looking at the key workers across North Yorkshire and the effort they’ve gone to during this pandemic, it does make me feel relieved and lucky.
“I like to look at it that my glass is always half full. That business isn’t lost, it’s just moved to next year and I do appreciate that. The business overall has given me a completely different pace of life.
“About three years ago, my wife lost her mother to cancer. It all happened quite suddenly, and that’s what made us decide to go for it. You don’t know what is around the corner.
“It’s gone from strength to strength, we practiced a lot making pizza at home first, too.”
Mark joined Buy Local to strengthen this sense of community and, ultimately, to be able to support other small businesses.
He said: “We're all independent businesses trying to find stability in order to flourish and grow, so trying to build relationships can only be a positive thing.”
Mark and Proper Pizzas are currently located at Kiplin Hall while its tea rooms remain closed.
County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “Buying local is something that should be heartily encouraged. Having a base of customers in a locality is something which shouldn’t be underestimated and provides help for the local economy.
“It’s fantastic that so many businesses have signed up to Buy Local. It’s a valuable resource which only increases in value the more shops and services we have on there.
“Business owners like Mark help to keep communities in North Yorkshire on their feet, provided with the vital things they need.”
For Vicki Jowett, owner of The Buck Inn, a traditional country pub at the heart of Thornton Watlass near Ripon, being a community pub is about much more than serving quality food and drink to her customers.
Now and during lockdown, Vicki and her team have gone out of their way to serve the local community, doing anything from shopping to providing an outdoor library!
The Buck Inn is one of over 700 businesses registered on Buy Local which was set up to connect businesses with customers and help people shop locally.
Vicki wanted to give something back, not just to her loyal pub regulars, but to the wider community as well. She and her team provided a seven day a week food take away and home delivery service, picked up shopping, set up an open air library, and even plugged the gap by providing items from their own kitchen when things were in short supply elsewhere.
Vicki said: “We’ve been here six years and had great support from day one from the village – I’m lucky that it is very much a locals’ pub. We don’t have a shop in the village, we have a lovely village school, the church and the village hall, but we don’t have anything else, so I thought we’ve got stuff here in stock that people might not be able to get in the shops.”
Vicki has also found new customers through offering take-aways and deliveries, and well over 100 people viewed The Buck Inn on Buy Local.
“We have definitely gained some new customers by doing the deliveries. People have said that they haven’t been to us before, but because of the service we were providing, as soon as they felt able to come in, they would. So, it’s brought new business in as well – definitely.”
Vicki has also had great feedback from customers since the pub re-opened.
“At least four people have told us how safe and comfortable they feel without us having to be too ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that’ – We try to say what we CAN do under the new guidelines, to make it feel as normal as possible in here really.”
Vicki also sent a fortnightly newsletter around the village during lockdown to make sure that residents without internet access were kept up to date.
She is proud to serve her community and very grateful for their support, “You’ve got to appreciate locals spending their money with you all year round, and think what can you do back for them in return. It should be a two-way thing.”
Sam delivers a freshly cooked take away from The Buck Inn.
Even a well-known North Yorkshire brand like Lewis and Cooper has seen the benefit of being registered on Buy Local – our one stop shop to connect businesses with customers.
Buy local was set up as a free advertising platform to help people to shop locally during the pandemic - there are now over 700 businesses registered.
Lewis and Cooper, a multi-award winning independent gourmet food store based in Northallerton, stayed open throughout lockdown, but also adapted their business to offer phone and collect, and home delivery. Home deliveries were so popular, not only did the company serve the local community, but also had high demand nationally!
They registered on Buy Local and nearly 100 people viewed their profile page on the site during lockdown.
Their high street store is welcoming customers from far and wide as confidence grows and people come back on to the high street to shop.
Julie Oxley-Hoyle, Deli and Wine Manager in the Northallerton store, told us about how they have pulled out all the stops to reassure customers.
“We’ve done our best to keep everybody safe. We’ve put in place all the measures that we have been asked to do. Everything is as clean as it can be. We’ve moved fixtures out of the way so there is plenty of space for people to move around and to browse.”
“We are getting really excited about seeing more people, and we hope that they’ll come and see us.”
Register your business and tell your network about the Buy Local market place today!
An army marches on its stomach, as the saying goes. There’s no doubt truth in that for the army of frontline workers providing care and support during the pandemic – and for those receiving that support.
And when an army needs refuelling, surely nothing hits the spot like a pie.
North Yorkshire pie maker Vale of Mowbray – one of the nearly 700 businesses to register on the County Council’s online Buy Local market place to link businesses with customers and help people to shop locally – are doing their bit.
During lockdown, like many businesses in North Yorkshire, Vale of Mowbray demonstrated agility and resourcefulness by adapting to serve its communities. The company is known for its pork pies, but the core business of wholesale meat delivery all but disappeared at the start of lockdown. The team quickly set up an online meat offer, and meatboxdeliveries.com was born. As well as their own quality meat, their range of food boxes includes produce from Yorkshire suppliers including Heck sausages, Wensleydale Creamery, Yorkshire Dale creamery and Jacksons bread, among others.
The firm has also been giving back to the community that supports it.
Marketing and Events Manager Jason Crowe said: “It’s an erratic time, so we have a bit of surplus sometimes. We thought we could utilise this.
“John Gatenby, our chairman, lives in Bedale where there are a number of care homes, so during the clap for carers on a Thursday night he took out pies to residents and some of the care homes around that area.
“We have several employees who have partners in the NHS, so we have sent them off with pies as well to take to their colleagues at James Cook and the Friarage Hospitals.
“We also connected with Fareshare (the UK charity dedicated to relieving food poverty and reducing food waste) so that when we had surplus we could give it to them.”
In April, the company provided 0.4 tonnes of food and contributed to 924 meals for Fareshare. These were distributed to food banks and other places where there was a need.
“They were very grateful,” said Jason, “and we have that relationship with them now and a system in place so that we know when we’re able we can donate to them. We’ve done that a few times so far and it’s good that we can continue that.”
At the same time, the company’s catering-style packs have been proving popular. As well as discovering these through meatboxdeliveries.com or Vale of Mowbray’s own website, people can check out the company’s entry on North Yorkshire Buy Local.
Jason would recommend any North Yorkshire business looking to the future to register on Buy Local.
“When there is free advertising you have got to take it, and with it coming through the council it is a reputable source, so people can rely on it,” he said. “I would strongly encourage people to register if they want to adapt or expand their business. They should get their name out there as much as they can, and if there are sources like Buy Local offering a free service then you can’t turn that down.”
Since the site’s launch in April, nearly 700 businesses have grabbed the opportunity to register. The marketplace is going from strength to strength and we’re urging businesses to register or update their details on the site as they re-open.
Any business can advertise FREE on the site – giving customers a wide range of local businesses, tradespeople and services all in one place.
Support other local businesses – spread the word by sharing Buy Local with your business network.
Back in April we spoke to James Knox of Yorkshire Dales Meat based in Patrick Brompton, a catering butcher who turned his hand to serving the community. Having lost most of this revenue when restaurants and hotels closed, James had to focus on protecting jobs and securing the future of the business. He adapted initially to offer doorstep deliveries and a click and collect service to the public for the first time. Buy Local helped him to reach a whole new audience.
‘Everyone is impacted in some way shape or form – everyone is in a similar boat, having to think on their feet, be agile and try to survive’ said James. ‘We may get around 50% or, conservatively, 25% of our restaurant business back, but it’s a guessing game.’
He continues to proactively look for new business and has now opened Mill Close Farm Shop, whilst carrying on with deliveries to the public.
‘There have been a lot of people who are very grateful for their deliveries, and quite a few that were a bit concerned that we would be stopping the service, but there’s no plans to do that - we plan to continue even as things get back nearer to normal.’
When we first spoke to Yorkshire Dales Meat:
In the three weeks since its launch, almost 400 businesses have registered with North Yorkshire Buy Local, our free online marketplace for those able to trade under Covid-19 restrictions.
Among the businesses is Yorkshire Dales Meat, catering butchers who have changed the way they work to meet demand during the pandemic.
“We are now doing door-step deliveries, which we have never done before, so that’s very different to what we were doing,” said managing director James Knox. “We are getting repeat orders, which I think says it all really, doesn’t it?”
But business isn’t easy in the current circumstances, so the company has been using its social media channels and advertising, as well as signing up for Buy Local, which James says is definitely worth doing, “without any doubts”.
“It is very tough,” he said. “We are not back to where we want to be, regarding sales, but we’re managing to keep the current employees in business. All the time we all looking at new avenues for how we can sell our product until the lockdown ends, but is pretty tough, it’s hard work. We have to be proactive and look for business.”
Pictur-esque Greeting cards is the brainchild of Charlotte Gale, a professional photographer from Knaresborough.
When we first spoke to Charlotte a few weeks ago, she had been forced to turn her full attention to her greeting cards business following her work as professional photographer drying up during the pandemic. Charlotte said ‘I had two sides to my photography business – marketing photography for businesses, and I also specialise in corporate photography, food, interiors and event photography – so, as you can imagine, there has been a real need to re-assess and re-evaluate and look at other opportunities.’
She was also selling her greeting cards, many of which have a strong Yorkshire focus, in a number of retail outlets, which were obviously closed during lockdown.
Just like so many other businesses during lockdown, Charlotte had to adapt. So she put her energy into her online offering - ‘I was looking at ways to increase the visibility of my online shop and the Buy Local site seemed like the perfect fit, as it covers the whole of the North Yorkshire region.’
During lockdown, Buy local has directed new traffic to Charlotte’s website www.pictur-esque.com and helped her connect with customers in different areas of the county.
Charlotte said, ‘I was actually one of the first people to sign up so I was definitely an early adopter. I have had a number of enquiries from the site and some nice orders via my online shop. I think the buy local directory is a great concept as it supports local business owners like myself and also helps customers to access suppliers’
When we first spoke to Charlotte this is what she told us:
Seven weeks have passed since professional photographer Charlotte Gale conducted her last photo shoot and was forced to turn her full attention to her other business venture, Pictur-esque Greeting Cards.
Based in Knaresborough, Charlotte is one of almost 500 businesses to register on North Yorkshire Buy Local, our free online marketplace for those able to trade under Covid-19 restrictions.
“I stock my Greeting Cards in a number of local shops, but when these closed I had to re-evaluate my business and look for other opportunities,” said Charlotte. “I was one of the first to sign up to Buy Local with the aim of pushing my online sales and adapting to the current situation.
“It’s a great place for people to go and find those businesses that are still operating. Hopefully it will encourage customers to shop with me even when lockdown is over.”
Her cards all display a strong Yorkshire theme. By signing up to a county-wide website, she hopes to have access to new audiences.
Dee, a customer from Skipton, said: “I was wondering how on earth I would manage to find cards during lockdown, when I found Pictur-esque on Buy Local. Charlotte’s cards are blank, so suitable for so many occasions, and I am so glad I was able to find her service, thanks to the website. I will definitely use both Pictur-esque and Buy Local again!”
Charlotte added: “It’s easy for anybody to contact me by email or over the phone. I’m providing cards for those who are unable to leave the house, some can include handwritten calligraphy or a printed picture inside.
“For corporate photography it could be next year before I have any level of business like before lockdown. I’m feeling more positive now than I was a few weeks ago. Looking for ways to develop my business online is the way forward.”
With more people venturing into Church Fenton Community Shop, a dedicated team of sewing bees have been making facemasks in a bid to help protect customers and volunteers.
The Community Shop is one of over 650 businesses signed up to Buy Local, our free online marketplace.
In order to safely stay open during the pandemic, the volunteer-run shop is encouraging residents to make facemasks, with all profits going to Selby Foodbank.
Management Committee member Stewart Ferris said: “As lockdown begins to ease we are determined to stay open, serving our village whilst keeping volunteers and customers as safe as we can.
“Some wonderful sewers in the village have donated homemade facemasks to the shop. It’s been a great initiative to give villagers who are shielding something to do to help out.
“We are giving away bags containing patterns and materials at the shop. We have already sold around 60 masks so our sewers are calling for more fabric.”
As all non-essential shops were able to reopen on 15 June, many are going the extra mile to increase safety measures.
“We’ve installed screens to protect our volunteers. We are only allowing two people in the shop at one time, as well as no under 16s for as long as we need to. Hand sanitiser is at the door, and we have extended our opening hours to evenings.”
Throughout lockdown, they have seen many villagers doing their weekly shop rather than using it for emergencies. They have been operating a delivery service for those self-isolating or vulnerable.
A delivery service is also provided by the shop for people needing prescriptions from Sherburn doctor’s surgery.
“We have about 50 active volunteers involved in every aspect of the business from ordering stock, serving customers, delivering, shelf-filling and coordinating social media. We saw an influx of new volunteers who were furloughed or working from home.
“We signed up to Buy Local because it was an easy way to have a presence online. We registered to make sure as many people know about us as possible and to serve the local community.”
When long queues and empty shelves were a familiar sight at supermarkets, many village stores across North Yorkshire rose to the challenge of plugging the gap.
Matthew and Andrea, who own The Dale Stores in Birstwith near Harrogate, began adapting the business and signed up to Buy Local, our free online marketplace.
“Being able to help people has been really terrific and has given us a real sense of purpose,” said Matthew. “We had to change our business completely as we mainly relied on our food-to-go business, selling around 100 sandwiches a day. However, as soon as lockdown started we realised we were going to have to remodel the business.”
The village store began putting together orders for collection and delivery in the nearby area. They launched a system whereby customers who are vulnerable or self-isolating are able to place orders either on the telephone or via an Internet order form.
They are busy fulfilling these orders, either on the doorstep, through ‘click n collect’ or deliveries by an army of willing local volunteers.
Matthew added: “It all fell into place very quickly. When people were getting worried about where they were going to get their food from they turned to us as we use local suppliers and some started doing their weekly shop here. We are now not just a shop, we are providing a service and have an extended role in supporting our community.”
The Dales Store itself is a traditional village shop with limited space, so Matthew is making changes to the layout for when they re-open “We have had screens fitted at the till point in readiness and plan to adopt a “two customers at a time” policy. Once we have reorganised the kitchen into an order fulfilment room, we will be able to allow shoppers in properly and safely.
“A lot of our new customers have said they will continue to support us. We know that delivering groceries to the community will be the new normal, and it’s what shops used to do in the 60s and 70s.
“We are currently reliant on volunteers but soon hope to be able to have our furloughed staff back. In the long term we hope to get a van to start a proper delivery service and extend the delivery radius.”
Spring House Farm Shop is helping to meet the needs of customers by sourcing new products on request.
Owners Neil and Judith are also buying extra stock from local suppliers who have lost trade during the lockdown restrictions.
The farm shop, located on the Bedale to Northallerton road (A684), is signed up to Buy Local, our free online marketplace which now has over 600 businesses registered.
Neil said: “When customers started to rely on us we had to adapt to the new circumstances and began offering a collection service whereby people would pay over the phone. We have seen new customers use the shop, some from further afield, and have grown a base of loyal supporters.”
Customer Rebecca Proctor said: “Neil and Judith have bent over backwards to support the local community during lockdown. We have two small children and they have been able to get us fresh, local produce at the drop of a hat, even when our four-year-old decided he wanted fruit which was completely out of season!
“Being able to ring up, place the order and collect it whilst socially distancing a few days later has been brilliant and such a less stressful experience than having to try and get a supermarket online spot or having to travel to a large store.”
When restaurants and cafes had to close, the owners began supporting their suppliers by buying extra stock.
Neil added: “Everything we sell comes from suppliers in a 15-mile radius as we believe it is important to support our local businesses. It was a case of adapting to the new circumstances and helping those who are unable to trade still receive a good income.”
The farm shop began selling take away hot food, including Sunday lunches, and, due to the increase in demand, even stocks cleaning products and hand sanitiser. They went out of their way to source what people were requesting.
“We had to diversify our products to suit the changing market, and have constantly found ways to remodel the business. Things are beginning to get back to normal and people are venturing out. We now have 70% of trade coming from people visiting the shop.”
Stuart’s Foods in Scarborough is promoting its fresh and local trademark to new customers during the coronavirus pandemic by launching a home delivery service.
Damian Howarth, Managing Director, is one of nearly 600 business owners to register on Buy Local, the free online marketplace created by North Yorkshire County Council. “We are still delivering to places such as care homes, hospitals and some staff canteens but we dropped about 85 per cent of normal turnover within 48 hours,” said Damian. “We had to adapt, and by 1 April we went live with online payments, offering home delivery to the public for the first time.”
By signing up to Buy Local and turning their attention to social media promotion, customers started to purchase products from Stuart’s Foods when supermarkets were facing shortages.
They also began to help local businesses including a butchers and a soft drinks supplier by adding their products to the website and including these in the deliveries.
“We started to help those who are self-isolating and in the vulnerable category,” added Damian. “I was under no illusions – the general public will buy where it’s easiest, in a supermarket they can get everything they want, it’s easy and convenient. However, even though more shops are re-opening we have new customers who are buying products, and some who are placing repeat orders.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have been forced to adapt their ways of working and find new avenues to trade.
Janet and Roger Nutting owners of Out of the Box! in Richmond signed up to Buy Local, our free online marketplace which now has nearly 600 businesses registered.
Over the past few weeks, the self-serve eco-friendly food shop started to send stock lists to customers, take orders and offer a collection service. The shop has now reopened with extra safety precautions.
“When we have sent out our full list of stock to customers, they’ve been surprised at the range of items we sell – we’ve also started providing different items on request,” said Janet. “We have definitely had new customers so we hope this means more people are shopping local – we want to make sure we are offering what the community needs.”
“We are only allowing one person in the shop at a time, providing hand sanitiser and dispensing items for our customers. I think people feel safe and comfortable in the shop and now the panic is over, we really want people to start thinking about the eco side of things again.”
Loyal Out of the Box! shopper Angela is pleased that they have found new customers “It can be difficult setting up a new business and I feel it is important to support them or we could lose them. I hope those customers who have discovered this great little store during lockdown will continue to support them afterwards.”
Liz, who also shops at Out of the box! said, “I wanted to make sure I supported, as much as possible, local businesses during Covid to make sure they survive this and help them continue in the future as they provide a valuable service in our community. The fact that Janet, Roger and Jo have adapted their business to drop off and collect is amazing.”
In this testing time for independent businesses, Buy Local is here to encourage people to continue to shop local after restrictions are eased.
Picture shows: Angela with some of her Out of the box! purchases.
Despite the coronavirus outbreak, farms need running, cows need milking and most importantly, produce needs selling.
In a bid to reach a wider audience, the Home Farmer in Wensleydale is one of over 500 businesses signed up to Buy Local, the free online marketplace created by North Yorkshire County Council for businesses able to trade under Covid-19 restrictions.
The dairy farm is run by brothers Ben and Adam Spence, along with Ben's wife Sam. With a herd of 100 cows, they sell fresh milk in reusable glass bottles from a travelling milk vending machine, as well as Old Roan Wensleydale cheese, made in small batches by hand on the farm.
"Many people are changing how they shop, so one simple website connecting people to small independent shops and services is a great idea,” said Sam. “We found it was really easy to sign up and the website was clear and easy to use. We wanted to reassure customers that we are open as usual and have extra safety measures in place, so the Buy Local website was a great place to get that message out.”
The business is running as normal. The milk machine trailer is moving around Wensleydale on its usual timetable, and cheese is available at the trailer or on their website.
They are providing hand sanitiser and ask people to follow social distancing when using the machine. The dispenser steam cleans after every fill.
“Milk sales have increased as more people shop local, but cheese sales are down. We were mostly selling to restaurants and small delis in tourist areas which are either closed or have lost a lot of their footfall.
“We have found some new outlets for the cheese so we have managed to replace some of our lost sales and are now only slightly behind where we were. Our cheese is matured for three to four months, so the cheese we are selling now was all made back in December and January, before we had any idea of what was to come.”
When Rachel Fell’s shower broke as she and her family followed the Covid-19 guidance to stay at home, she needed help.
Luckily, a search of North Yorkshire Buy Local, the free online marketplace created by North Yorkshire County Council for businesses able to trade under Covid-19 restrictions, bore fruit.
“Our electric shower was broken, and when you’re socially isolating as a family, that is not a good situation!” said Rachel. “I saw the Buy Local site advertised on the Covid Co-operation Facebook group, so I searched for electricians in my area.”
She found BSA Electrical, run by Luke Boston, who had registered on Buy Local only the day before.
“Buy Local is a great way for local businesses to offer their services during the ongoing circumstances,” said Luke. “The site is easy to use and very user-friendly. We advertised our electrical services on Tuesday night and had an enquiry on Wednesday morning. Within 24 hours of the enquiry coming in, we were able to attend site, replace a faulty electric shower for new, and provide a functional washing facility for the family to use – as they’d been without for a few days!”
Rachel added: “I was so lucky that Luke was able to come out the next day, and he reassured me that he is working within Covid-19 guidelines. Using Buy Local meant I could find Luke quickly and easily, and I would definitely use the site again. We’re very grateful to Luke for helping us out at this difficult time.”
Buy Local aims to bring together North Yorkshire businesses and tradespeople who can work under Covid-19 restrictions with the customers who need their services.
Luke said: “It’s definitely worthwhile signing up, and gives the general public who are in need of services fairly promptly, a selection of local businesses and services to choose from. We’re glad we signed up, and feel that the service is something people need at the minute – for both the customers and businesses. We’re always happy to help people out, but now so more than ever, so having this platform has made it a lot easier for both parties to engage with each other, whilst being sensible and sticking to the social distancing rules even within households.”
The public can search for services on Buy Local and businesses can join the more than 250 already on the site.
Sam Spence, who runs Crafts of Thirsk, is one of about 200 businesspeople to register on our Buy Local free online marketplace in its first week – and she saw an immediate benefit.
“I registered in the morning after seeing it on social media and got a new order before 2pm that afternoon off the back of it,” said Sam, who founded the Thirsk Yarnbombers and took over the 40-year-old business a year ago. “It took me only a minute to register and I’ve shared it with loads of other people, so you’ve probably been inundated!”
We launched Buy Local to enable North Yorkshire businesses and tradespeople who can work under Covid-19 restrictions to share what they offer with customers who need their services.
Sam closed her shop when Covid-19 restrictions were introduced, but began to get requests from customers.
“People started messaging to ask whether I could post or deliver craft materials,” she said. “I spoke to people about it and realised how important it is for mental health and keeping occupied.”
Sam is in the shop three days a week to pack orders, which she then posts or delivers.
“I arrange a delivery time, leave the package and ring the bell,” she said. “A lot of customers are on their own, and a lot have taken up crafting during the outbreak and are asking for advice. People are so pleased with what they get they are now re-ordering.”
Sam recommends Buy Local.
“It’s a one-stop shop. I could see what people in other towns were doing. So there are companies in Scarborough, for instance, and I thought: ‘If I’ve got a birthday coming up I might use them’. So it’s not just local to Thirsk, it’s North Yorkshire as a whole. And I am a bit like a stick of rock with Yorkshire running through me, so you had me at that point!”
Since its launch a week ago, almost 200 businesses have registered on Buy Local, with more joining all the time, and about 3,000 people have visited the site. Businesses on the site already range from farm shops that will deliver produce to joinery to computer repairs and many others.