The Federation of Small Businesses is backing the JPI Media campaign urging people to continue to support local independent businesses during the second national lockdown.
The Yorkshire Post is among JPI Media titles stepping up the #supportlocal campaign in the run-up to a uniquely challenging Christmas.
As part of the campaign we've asked our Yorkshire Post readers to share their support for their favourite independent businesses across Yorkshire in the run up to Christmas.
Small businesses are well and truly at the heart of our communities, and Antonia Turner, 30, put forward her "favourite" local eatery - Feed, in Pudsey, because of how quickly it adapted to operating a "creative and tasty" take-away menu.
The secondary school teacher added throughout challenging times, the owners have always provided service with a smile, from "cheeriness," to customers when operating under covid restrictions, to "lovely little" handwritten messages on deliveries.
For couple Luke Dowling and Laura MacLeod, who have run the Richardshaw Lane based business, for two and a half years, they have made major changes to the way they operate their business.
As well as releasing a take-away food and drinks menu, the night lockdown was announced in England - they started a 'bottle shop,' which includes local craft beer, and collaborated with local bakeries to provide daily baked goods including its specialty cruffins and cronuts.
Seasoned restaurateur Mr Dowling 39, who also owns award-winning Leeds city centre fine dining Vice & Virtue, told The Yorkshire Post, that the decision had to be taken to partner with Uber, at a cost of 30 per cent of each delivery order, to cope with the demand.
From doing a maximum of 36-40 covers on an evening they have adapted to up to 200 orders online.
"We were just inundated and blown away by the support we had," he said. "We don't have the luxury of having internal drivers - we tried it at first but we couldn't cope - so it was easier to outsource it."
Mr Dowling, who hasn't had a day off since March, added: "It sounds ridiculous but I haven't had a day off because that's what it's taking for us to be able to not only cope with the demand but to cope with the different challenges that have been thrown at us."
It hasn't all been plain sailing for Mr Dowling, who has worked in the industry for more than 15 years, however, as he had to make the difficult decision to sell the city centre branch of Feed, as footfall completely disappeared virtually "overnight".
He said: "We found there was no footfall in the city center and even with deliveries we couldn't get it working... We sold it, so we could definitely sustain without having to worry about trying to sustain. We thought it was easier to run the take-away from one and see where we are."
With Christmas just around the corner local customers can look forward to festive classics with a modern twist, with Feed introducing a three course meal for £22 - including an innovative prawn cocktail.
Mr Dowling said: "The times that we have just been through and the times that are ahead for the hospitality industry it’s incredibly difficult.
"So it's a massive thank you to everyone in the local community that comes down - and for everyone who supports us - they don’t realise how much it means to us.
"We’ve got some unbelievable loyal customers that come in every day... And a one minute conversation when they are getting their coffee does us just as much a favour - just as much as we do theirs - because we are able to chat to them."
Meanwhile in North Yorkshire Heather Barnett put forward Beavers Butchers, in Masham, who have diversified to offer a delivery service to residents stuck in lockdown.
Owner Richard Welford, 52, who started as a butcher boy at the independent business when he was 12-years-old, said at the height two delivery vans were operating every day, seven days a week to cope with the increased demand.
He said initially the business increased almost overnight by 70 per cent on trade.
"In the first lockdown it was mainly deliveries that pushed trade and also people panicked so much - people were coming from the inner cities because they couldn’t get anything in supermarkets."
He added: "They were coming and buying 30 chicken fillets, 30 pounds of mince. They were just going absolutely berserk and they were told not to panic but they did panic - and it went balmy.
"When that settled down home deliveries were very busy - it kept us going."
Despite an upsurge in deliveries, it has been a challenging time for the business as overnight it lost £8,000 a week - made from supplying goods to local businesses including pubs, tearooms and local bed and breakfasts.
And the Government's business grant of up to £10,000 was "quickly swallowed up" due to hidden costs of extra hours needed for the operation of the adapted business having moved to a delivery-style service.
Mr Welford said: "It’s been horrendously hard...Literally everything overnight changed.
"All the wholesale side of the business - they have all been shut so there has been no work... They closed on me overnight."
With the festive season well under way, the business is offering a range of traditional treats, which he hopes the local community will enjoy, including pigs in blankets, a range of meat pies including ones topped with apricots and cranberries and cooked ham joints.
Mr Welford also reported an increased demand for whole turkeys this year - up 25 per cent on last year.
He said: "Local support has been massive to our survival."
Messages to the Yorkshire independent businesses you are supporting this Christmas:
We've also had so many positive messages championing local businesses and we would like to share some more with you.
- Rosa Rugosa, a florist, in Haworth - put forward by Jerry Dean, after it came up with a new way of working with their "flowers in a box" delivery, which enables people to receive their flowers at home, then do the arrangements themselves, following an online video.
Florist Annie Miller is now running online Christmas wreath making workshops and helped to run one with Manorlands Sue Ryder Hospice which raised £2.7k for their funds.
- Lyth Butchers, in Hinderwell and Farm Direct, Easington.
"They excelled themselves keeping us and our animals fed through the various lockdowns", said Mark Brock.
- Stefs Pet Pantry Ltd, Ilkley
Karen Mi-kimom said: "I need to thank all the staff for keeping my dogs fed and delivering the essential food for my dogs since this pandemic began and Stef's little live videos connecting the outside world to those indoors."
While Margaret Thompson put forward the Otley based: West Bourne Catering, Rafferty's Cafe, Wilkinson's Butchers, Russell's Fish, Chez Vin and Saltaire Brewery for being all "outstanding local services".
- SukanThai, with restaurants in Cleckheaton and Elland
Jerry Dean said: "Well done to Sukanthai who have kept going throughout doing takeaways and deliveries, with the owner Kiyara May doing deliveries herself at one point, as well as volunteering as an NHS responder during the first lockdown."
- Yorkshire Soap Company
"Brings much joy to our towns," said Martin Schwaller.
- FMJ Plastering
Simon Holt said: "Thanks for all your help throughout the year."
- Black Bull, Rothwell
"Great staff and fantastic beer. Can't wait for the doors to be open again!" said Jon Banks
- Buon Apps Otley
Andrea Riddoch said: "Stay strong, we'll be back and in the meantime we'll have takeaway and cook at home."
- The Garden Gate Pub, Hunslet
"Heart of the community," said Daz Mcgill.
- The Roebuck Pub Otley
Heather Bolton said: "Great food and the owners have done everything to comply with the rules whilst retaining a lovely atmosphere."
- The Fenton, Leeds
"Lovely friendly pub and hard working great staff," said Joanne Bamford.
- The Railway, Leeds and Liverpool canal
Wendy Bulmer said: "We will be back."
- Mumtaz, Leeds
"Most beautiful curry, location and staff are lovely" - Honeybears
- Blue Sakura - Leeds
Yi Steadman said: "See you soon!!"
- Stone Trough, Rawdon
"Can't wait to be back," said Elaine Rhodes.
And Marjorie Paine put forward White Lockes Ale House, Leeds.
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