Local delivery services will keep us stocked up in Lockdown2 - or even 3
I said farewell to my local cafe on the eve of lockdown, after downing two cakes and two coffees under the pretence of ‘helping out’.
“Oh no, we’re staying open for click and collect,” the worker said.
It was the clearest sign yet that Lockdown2 won’t be the same as the first one.
Sheffield’s ever-ingenious companies have adapted to survive, and online ordering and delivery services have boomed.
In the last few days we’ve written about a host of restaurants, takeaways, cafes and shops that have found a way to keep trading.
At its simplest you need a website and a driver. But increasingly there are apps and services that combine products from different companies in one ‘shop’.
Sheffield Made, 3miles.co.uk, iBe, ChefChef.Store, City Grab and the forthcoming Delivery Drop are all homegrown outfits that take online shopping to new levels of sophistication.
They are the middlemen and women who will keep businesses alive as locked down residents stock up.
Traders at The Moor Market have united to launch an app that combines their unique range. iBe is a venture by Matt Bigland of The Milestone restaurant offering firms a payment, ordering and click-and-collect app in one, with loyalty points thrown in.
Sheffield Made was set up by cheesemakers when trade fell off a cliff in the first lockdown. The website offers a famers’ market of products and delivery across Sheffield.
City Grab, by City Taxis, was only officially launched in January but is now the granddaddy of the sector, sending goods via taxi on behalf of scores of local firms - and passing more than £2m back from customers.
Forget Amazon, Deliveroo or Just Eat, this is Sheffielders keeping jobs and money local and helping companies that pay taxes stay alive.
There are other ways this lockdown is different. At four weeks it’s half the length of the first one. It’s also ‘looser’ - schools and colleges are open and there are more exemptions this time.
Sadly, health experts are already saying it won’t be long enough to make a real difference to the ‘R’ rate.
And with a more normal Christmas dangled as the prize for our compliance, and all the mingling that goes with it, who wouldn’t bet against Lockdown3?
At least our local delivery services will be ready.