For our latest member spotlight, we caught up with Alan Martin, Owner and Director of Food for Thought, in Kingston Market Place.
“Looking back on the events of the past year it still seems surreal in many respects. I am reminded of the W B Yeats Poem, ‘Easter 1916’ and the line “All Changed, changed utterly, A terrible beauty is born.” We weren’t prepared and we didn’t have a roadmap. From the first stories hitting the news to the panic buying, first lockdown and subsequent relaxations, tier changes, lockdowns 2 and 3, we have had to steer our business through the unprecedented events and somehow stay intact and look after our team and our customers. We have had to summon up all our leadership skills to make decisions about situations we never imagined we would face.
We have also learned a lot about our business and adapted what we do to provide a service, delivered by our team that everyone at Food For Thought can be proud of. In fact I consider every single member of our team a true leader! For 10 months now they have got up in the morning, come to work and ensured that we were able to function as a community hub, creating a safe environment for our customers to come and shop in calm surroundings.
So, what happened with our business? Fortunately, we were classed as essential and our staff, key workers, so we remained open and traded our normal hours. We found the demand for supplements (immunity aside), skin care, body care and make up, fell off the cliff edge whereas the demand for fresh organic produce, wine, food to go, chilled food, fish, meat and dairy went off the scale.
We embraced this, expanding our fresh fruit and vegetable offer by 10 fold, adding new categories of fresh milk and dairy, fish and cooked meats. We reacted to our customer requests for home deliveries and set up an order delivery scheme helped by other local business owners whose businesses were in lock down. A huge thanks here to John Mullan from Stone Hair Salon, who brightened up many a person’s day by delivering their order on the back of his motorbike. As we begin another year of lockdown, we are open, we are here to help and we look forward to welcoming you in-store.
If I have to single out the most important thing I have learned from all of this it’s this – No one knows anything and everyone is just doing their best.”
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