Home delivery on the menu for Scottish fruit and veg wholesaler
A family run fruit and vegetable wholesaler has launched a delivery service offering an expanded range of products to homes across Scotland’s Central Belt, with support from Bank of Scotland.
The majority of Charles Stamper Fruit & Veg’s customers, which include bars, restaurants, hotels and schools, closed their doors when the government mandated lockdown came into force on the 23rd of March, creating significant pressure on its cash flow.
In response, the Edinburgh business immediately decided to diversify into home delivery using its fleet of refrigerated vans. It set up a dedicated website to take orders and added household essentials to its product range, including tinned goods, condiments and kitchen roll.
The shift to home delivery was supported by long time banking partner, Bank of Scotland. It provided a six-figure loan through the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), helping the wholesaler pay new suppliers and cover costs while its catering customers are unable to pay for orders competed before Scotland entered lockdown.
Charles Stamper Fruit & Veg has provided Scotland’s hospitality, education and care sectors with fresh produce since 1992. Bar some specialty items that are imported from suppliers in Europe, all its products are sourced locally and delivered loose to minimise the use of plastics.
Louise Stamper, managing director, Charles Stamper Fruit & Veg, said: “We were watching television as a family when the stay at home order was announced and decided almost immediately to launch a home delivery service.
“Such a radical change seemed daunting at first. But, thanks to a massive team effort, we’ve now completed thousands of home orders. We’ve been blown away by the demand and motivated by all the positive feedback we’ve received on social media.
“Crucially, our new retail customers pay for goods ahead of delivery. It’s a departure from the traditional business model of a wholesaler that gives us steady income until our catering clients reopen. The support from Bank of Scotland has been invaluable as we’ve made that change.”
Daniel Burns, relationship manager at Bank of Scotland, added: “Charles Stamper Fruit & Veg is a prime example of a well-established, family run business that has quickly adapted its services during unprecedented times.
“The business’ focus on quality put it in a good position as home delivery became a preferred option for Scottish consumers keen to support local firms impacted by Covid-19. The loan we’ve provided will help Louise and the team take advantage of this demand and keep the business going until its catering customers are able to open their doors again.”