Britain’s Oldest Farm Shop Rides the Coronavirus Storm

Britain’s oldest farm shop have found a way to not only ride the Covid-19 storm but also to help their local community through the toughest of times.

Hinchliffe’s in Netherton, West Yorkshire only recently reopened their brand-new state of the art store and restaurant after a devastating fire 10 years ago left the family run business trading from a temporary structure whilst the lengthy rebuilding process took place.

The award-winning farm shop, officially opened again last September and has once again had to find a way to thrive in unprecedented times.

Partner and a fourth-generation family member, Simon Hirst, said: “Like many businesses we had no idea what to expect as the pandemic spread through the country but what we soon discovered is the local community needed us more than ever as our customers didn’t want to go to big supermarkets.”

Within days of the lockdown being announced in March, Hinchliffe’s saw a huge increase in customers and also a demand for home delivery services in the local area.

Simon continued: “We had already been discussing creating a delivery service but the pandemic made us realise how it was now invaluable to many of our elderly and vulnerable customers who could no longer get out to do their shopping.

“As soon as we announced the service, our phone lines were jammed with orders and we quickly turned the restaurant into a mini warehouse, where we could store extra stock and make up deliveries.

“It felt wonderful to be able to do something positive to help our community and provide out loyal and new customers when they needed it the most.”

 “Due to our store being so new, it wasn’t difficult to adapt to the new shopping guidelines as already had wide aisles and the shop feels very airy and spacious. The positive feedback and complements from customers have been fantastic and it’s been great to have served the local community to the best of our ability.”

Hinchliffes, who also specialise in selling live chickens for commercial and the hobby market, have also seen this area of the business expand rapidly. “This whole situation has seen people wanting to live a more sustainable lifestyle, which can only be a good thing, and it’s something we feel very passionate about in the way we run our business” Simon continues. 

“I’m delighted for the whole independent retail industry to show we can thrive in hard times. I truly believe, people have reverting back to a traditional way of shopping a comfort right now and I’m confident many will now change their habits going forward.”

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