Linton store's new home delivery service is already helping scores of Haverhill households
The owners of a convenience store in Linton have said the demand for a new home delivery service it has launched has been “unbelievable”.
Sweet Talk News in the High Street is one of 20 shops across East Anglia owned by Ajay Joseph and his wife Thushara, many of them being franchises bearing names like Budgens, Spar or Nisa.
Two weeks ago they launched a new website (sweettalkonline.com) specifically to enable them to help serve customers with home delivery orders that can be placed online, or for those who are computer-free over the phone or even by text.
Delivery charges are waived for anyone aged over 70 and for NHS staff and if any item requested cannot be found in the store nearest to where the customer lives, they are sourced from another store in the group, and even from some convenience stores not owned by Ajay.
Hundreds of deliveries have already been made, often utilising the network of volunteer groups in various communities that have been formed to help those less mobile - such as the self-isolating - because of the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking on Monday, Ajay said: “The demand is enormous, it’s unbelievable how many people need this service and help.
“We have done over 100 deliveries in the last three days in Haverhill and that has all come from the Spar in Stapleford.
“The shop in Linton is only coping with the orders for Linton because it is too small to do it for any others.”
Customers who place on order will get a call back to make sure everything that they want is available, or not, and to see if any changes need to be made to the order before any payment is requested.
Not taking payment at the initial point of contact also enables people to place orders on behalf of someone else.
Payment is done over the phone using bank cards, although cash or cheques can be accepted if necessary and the order is left outside the customers door to maintain social distancing.
The new initiative is also helping keep the business afloat, as Ajay explained: “We just started this because of the crisis and also because many of our high street shops have no footflow. People are not walking in. We have the choice to do home deliveries or not survive.”
More by this authorSteve Barton