COVID-19 - Business case studies

Many of our local businesses are diversifying their business models in order find ways through the challenge of social distancing.

A key theme is introducing or increasing home deliveries, adapting to changes in customer habits and using new technology.

Many businesses have been able to taken advantage of the government’s financial support. There’s more information on the financial support for businesses here.

Some businesses have been able to repurpose to meet the growing need for products and services that specifically address our response to the pandemic including providing support for our vulnerable residents and crucial key workers.

  • Toscanaccio, Winchester
    Tosc
    Toscanaccio, Winchester

     

    Off-licenses were initially ordered to close by the Government on March 23, but later able to open. By this time Cat Brandwood of Toscanaccio, an Italian themed wine merchants, had already started her successful wine delivery service.

    Customers could complete an easy online order form or telephone the shop, and then have their wine delivered straight to their door the very next day - national companies were offering delivery in ten days.

    Regular customers usually charmed by Cat’s Italian wine knowledge were equally impressed by the efficient door-to-door service and her ability to remember customers’ preferences when replacements were offered.  This was backed up by a social media campaign promoting regular features such as ‘Cat’s pick of the week’.  However, the success of this diversification owed as much to word of mouth recommendation as it did to marketing.

    Cat said: “Before lockdown 8% of my sales were from online during lockdown this has increased to 74%. There is no doubt that having a functioning e-commerce website has been crucial. Winchester City Council part-funded this website a few years ago and I’m grateful they were able to help out. It meant I was extremely familiar with how it worked so the sudden uptake in orders wasn’t too stressful and disruptive. I made some changes to the website earlier this year -  a better server and adding services - which has improved page load speed – great for improving dwell time on the site.”

  • The Fox, Crawley
    The Fox Deliveries
    The Fox, Crawley

     

    When the government announced the immediate closure of the hospitality sector this local pub with accommodation was left wondering about its future.

     

    They thought long and hard about the challenges that they were going to face over the coming months and took the decision to start a takeaway service.

    This is not something the business had ever done before and they faced some challenges like identifying their potential customers and sourcing local suppliers.

    The motivation was to help local people especially those self isolating and elderly people. The first steps were supplying the immediate local area with takeaway pizzas, fish and chips, burgers and curries for collection or delivery.

    The service took off immediately leaving the team wondering what else they could offer in these unprecedented times – and the decision was to help the heroes of the NHS.by offering 25 free meals a day on two days a week and a 20% discount at weekends.

    Soon after the pub extended their delivery radius, and introduced a food delivery service offering meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, store cupboard essentials and fresh bread.

    Challenges included ensuring social distancing measures were in place, using a new online ordering system and map-reading – not to mention almost completely re-inventing themselves!

    The Fox will continue to provide this service for as long as it is needed but the team looks forward to welcoming everyone back through their doors.

  • Meon Valley Butchers, Wickham
    Meon Valley Butchers
    Meon Valley ButchersMe

     

    This small family run butchers saw a significant increase in demand as the UK went into lockdown. To ensure they were able to service their customers’ needs they employed an additional butcher on a self-employed basis allowing them to be responsive to demand.

    As full lock down was announced the business reacted by offering a free local telephone delivery service with no minimum order and used their Facebook page to promote this.

    This new free delivery service was hugely popular, and on the first day they took over 50 orders. This created its own challenges as the butchers didn’t have the capacity to prepare all the orders. At this point they took on another self-employed member of staff to manage all customer interactions. This has enabled them to streamline their delivery system. In the past five weeks they have tripled their weekly turnover and significantly expanded their customer base.  Many customers are now doing weekly orders and they hope these new shopping habits will continue after the lockdown with the introduction of a new e-commerce website.


    Click here to visit Meon Valley Butchers’ website.

  • The Hairy Pot Plant Company based at Kirton Farm Nurseries, Crawley
    Kirkton Farm
    The Hairy Pot Plant Company based at Kirton Farm Nurseries, Crawley

    This wholesale nursery has given away nearly £250,000 worth of bedding plants to prevent stock being wasted – and to spread a little joy. The Hairy Pot Plant Company was handing out country garden plants for free to households rather than see them composted.

    The aim of the scheme called ‘Plants for People’ was to reduce wastage and lift spirits during the outbreak. The plants have been particularly well received by those self isolating and vulnerable residents who have been shielding.

  • IncuHive
    Incuhive
    IncuHive's PPE

    IncuHive, a provider of local co-working and business incubation spaces, has been making use of their ‘fab lab’ facilities to produce PPE for the NHS.

    The 3D printed face shields have been produced with the support of a range of their members with the first batch going directly to ICU at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.  

    Steve Northam, CEO of IncuHive, said: “Given the current pandemic situation it seems only right to use the resources and expertise we have within our sites to help support those doing lifesaving work within the NHS. We are producing a range of PPE and donating this to Winchester Hospital directly, alongside the wider crowd-based currently in operation.”

  • Holiday Inn, Winchester
    holiday inn
    Holiday Inn, Winchetser

    The Holiday Inn in Winchester is providing accommodation for patients without coronavirus – or the symptoms of the virus - to free up care beds. Owners InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) said it is “contributing to the recovery effort”.

  • Electro Clean, Winchester
    Westacre
    Electro Clean, Winchester

    This Winnall based new business in Winchester was created on 13 March after every customer of Mike Wilkinson’s recruitment business called to say they had no recruitment needs for the foreseeable future.

    Mike purchased three electrostatic cleaning machines that he had seen in a social media post. His idea was to give the service away for free to places that really needed this technology to protect people from the spread of COVID-19.

    On the first day the team cleaned petrol pumps, local shops, pharmacies all for free and quickly realised how people needed this service. To keep costs down and ensure the fledgling company could deliver as many free cleans as possible, they have used a team of volunteers.

    Now Electro Clean is starting to pick up paid work but the philosophy remains focused on helping protect people over money. Costs are set low to encourage customers to use this sanitisation service on a monthly basis.

    Electro Clean has also treated local care homes, shops, nurseries, manufacturing companies, warehouses, taxis, trucks and cars.

Supporting Local Businesses 

Residents wishing to support local companies offering home deliveries can use the following websites:

Winchester Local 

Winchester Local Food and Drink with Fresh Food Pod

 

Key worker accommodation

Several tourism businesses across the Winchester district are offering key worker accommodation. These include:

Stay in, work out

Many businesses and organisations across the district are offering tips, advice and guidance on how to keep or get active in and around your home.

Join the Movement and use #StayInWorkOut to share how you're getting active during this time.  The links below will help you stay active without passing your front door: