Cumbria Crack

Chestnut House launches fresh food home delivery service with support of local suppliers

Darren Todd (foreground) and Andrew Kaye packing today’s orders

Chestnut House – the Pooley Bridge grocery shop renowned for its ‘wall of gin’, has switched focus to its fresh food and launched a home delivery service.

The shop is working closely with its local suppliers to ensure a good supply of fresh produce and locally sourced supplies. Their aim is to deliver to people who have been struggling to get groceries around Eden.

The initial idea to develop an emergency fresh food delivery service came from Darren Todd, who has worked with owner Andrew Kaye for a number of years. Originally aiming to supply those who were vulnerable or self-isolating, the operation has now grown. Andrew and Darren have scaled their operation to support as many people in Eden towns and villages as possible.

Andrew Kaye said “Darren has worked hard to get this delivery service off the ground and we now have processes in place to make it easier to cope with demand. We have massively focused on fresh because we have an excellent supply of local fresh food and that’s what people are asking for.

“We have daily deliveries of fresh meat from Low Howgill Butchers & Deli, with fresh fruit and vegetables from Stephensons of Appleby. We know we are getting quality products and it’s a way for us all to stay in business. We have adapted to survive and are able to make a difference to households looking for home delivery. Using local suppliers means we can re-order on a daily basis – so customers get the freshest produce available.

“Other local suppliers include North Lakes Foods and Appleby Creamery, Coffee Care, Lakeland Museli and Traybakes. As a grocery shop we also stock a wide range of grocer staples – and Darren regularly updates our Face Book page with pictures and videos to give people a feel of the wide range of goods available. As a tourist destination, we have lots of tasty Cumbrian treats in the shop too – and we are still sending out wines, beers and spirits – but most people are focusing on fresh.”

As word spread from their Face Book page, the number of daily orders has rocketed, but the team has processes and people in place to cope with the demand for now.

Darren Todd said “We are very grateful to the generosity of people – and want to say a massive thanks to Eden Commercial Van Sales for the free loan of a van. It means we can reach more people every day – and with the support of our many volunteers who want to help with deliveries, it means what we are doing is more sustainable.”

Distribution map

To order, customers call the shop on 017684 86444 with a list of goods needed. Andrew and Darren then pick and pack what they can. When the order is ready for delivery, they call customers back with the cost, take payment by card and arrange delivery time.

Summing up, Andrew said “This local initiative demonstrates the ability of local businesses to work together, adapt, innovate and offer a service to the local community in a time of need. And when the threat from COVID-19 has gone, and life returns to normal, there’s a better chance that local businesses will still be around.”

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