Ralph Patel, who owns the Look-In store in Woodmansterne, Surrey, says that new-found relationships with local suppliers are helping him to fulfil continued high-demand for home-baking basics such as flour, eggs and bread.

Ralph Patel

”We are located at the heart of a village so demand for our goods and services has been exceptionally high since the start of lockdown, and, like many other convenience retailers, we have enjoyed a significant rise in sales in recent weeks. Sourcing products has been a strain at times though and we have been forced to look at new and alternative sources of supply for a number of items, notably flour, which we now buy in a catering size and bag up in a smaller format ourselves. The labelling probably isn’t quite top notch but we’ve done our very best and people are more than happy to forgive us that if it means they can buy the products they need.

”Demand for fresh fruit and vegetables remains high and we have started to source from a new local supplier to top up on those. The quality is really good and customers have reacted really positively to that.

”Some of the most positive new relationships that we have forged have been with some of the little independent bakeries who stepped in to bridge the gap that formed when Warburtons suspended our bread deliveries in mid-March in favour of supplying the supermarkets. 

”The independent bakeries have been tremendous and we will hopefully continue working with them going forward. Situations like this certainly are an eye opener, allowing independent retailers to see who our friends really are.”