Village shop supports community during the coronavirus pandemic

DURING the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, a local greengrocer stepped up to the plate to support the community by providing essential groceries.

Like many others, Caroline Hardman (née Alberti) at ‘Alimentari Di Alberti’ in Uppermill found herself having to adapt overnight to support customers old and new that were shielding and following government guidelines.

Caroline said: “I don’t think anyone was expecting things to get as bad as they did.

“It was certainly a shock and in the first few weeks we were inundated with requests for deliveries and collections.”

“The panic buying meant there were shortages everywhere.

“Luckily part of our business model was already supplying and making up fruit and veg boxes for delivery or collection. This meant we could adapt quickly to our customers needs.

“At that time there was only myself and Vanda working in the shop but demand was such we were very fortunate to employ local lady Ivanna, who was previously a swimming instructor.

“Myself, Vanda and Ivanna have worked as a team and have been instrumental in being able to facilitate and steer the business to cope with the demands.

Caroline, right, with Vanda and Ivanna in the shop

“The initial help from the government grant enabled us to provide the infrastructure for the supply and demand of groceries and every penny of the grant money and more was put back into the shop.

“We bought a van for deliveries, fully refurbed the shop and teamed up with local butchers Neil Mellors and well-known fish mongers Paul Phillips in Oldham to provide fresh meat and fish to add to orders for customers.

“Having already been supplying the majority of the independent cafes, bars and restaurants in Uppermill and surrounding areas, we were still able to facilitate their requests as and when needed during the pandemic.

“We have been very lucky to have such an amazing loyal customer base who have continued to support us after the panic at the supermarkets has subsided. This has made the 60-70 hour weeks we’ve been working all worth it!

“We even received a letter from the local MP as recognition for all our hard work.

“Even more heart warming were pictures and letters from customers and their children and grandchildren thanking us for the wonderful produce and service they had received from us.

“On behalf of myself Vanda and Ivanna thank you so much to our wonderful supportive customers.”

• Visit Alimentari Di Alberti at 4B New Street, Uppermill, OL3 6AU or call them on 01457 871004.

They are open on Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm and on Saturday from 9am to 3pm. They are closed on Sundays.

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