Let’s work together for Yorkshire’s greater good – Simon Gray

THE coronavirus crisis has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the way we live our everyday lives – it’s completely changed the way we work, socialise and consume. It’s also had a devastating impact on the economy.

Taylors of Tickhill is indicative of how businesses can adapt in the wake of the pandemic.

While it may seem all doom and gloom, we have to take a moment to recognise some of the innovation and creativity displayed by businesses across the region in response to the crisis.

Restaurants that were no longer able to welcome diners rebranded themselves as convenience stores and convenience stores, like Taylors of Tickhill near Doncaster, launched their own 
delivery services to support their communities.

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We’ve also seen brilliant examples of other Yorkshire businesses doing their bit to support their community. We saw Max’s Premier, a corner shop in Hull, giving away free food to families struggling to feed their children and at Boost, we provided care packages for more than 1,500 independent retailers that included posters and floor stickers to help aid social distancing in their store.

Taylors of Tickhill launched their own delivery service during the lockdown, proof of how companies can reinvent themselves.

This level of agility and kindness is what will see businesses through the crisis and, as a region, we need to work together and support each other to keep our economy moving.

It’s understandable, that in times of economic hardship, business leaders are shying away from striking up new deals and investing in existing partnerships. However, in the long run, this attitude will destroy the economy we have all worked so hard to build up.

Yorkshire is on the business map – we’re home to some of Britain’s biggest brands and have recently attracted the attention of huge media giants such as Channel 4 and Sky. It didn’t happen overnight; it took years of us collectively investing in talent and infrastructure that made the region attractive to these kinds of corporations.

We can’t lose the momentum that we’ve created. That’s why we need to support each other in the challenging months ahead. Seek out suppliers and partner with businesses on your doorstep because if we continue to invest, we’ll continue to attract talented employees to the area.

Attracting these people doesn’t just benefit your business, it also benefits the property market, retail and hospitality sector across the region creating more jobs and encouraging further investment.

Growing up in Yorkshire, and attending school and university in Leeds, there is only one place I wanted to set up my business. Boost Drinks has operated in Leeds for the past 19 years and supporting local independent businesses is at the heart of everything we do.

We stock exclusively in independent retailers – that means you won’t find us in the big supermarkets – we’re only in corner shops and convenience stores because we want to offer independents
a point of difference to the grocery
giants.

As an independent business ourselves, we understand the challenges others face so want to support them where we can. From a supplier and partners point of view, we pride ourselves on primarily working with other Yorkshire businesses to ensure the local economy is booming.

We work with many local suppliers including Caw Ingredients based in Leeming Bar and Pontefract-based Refresco, who can our energy and sports products. All our marketing agencies are Yorkshire based too which is a real
bonus for us. Boost is a down to earth challenger brand so having Yorkshire folk manage our communications means they get who we are, and what we stand for, as they often share the same values and beliefs.

We have also worked with Bradford-based distribution experts, Expect Distribution, for almost a decade and have recently signed a further five-year deal with them to continue our partnership. It’s a long-term trusted partnership that is built on shared values and ambitious plans.

The best thing for me about working with other local businesses is the things you can do together that aren’t possible on your own. Great successes come from great partnerships and learning from one another.

In Yorkshire I think we have a certain type of business spirit that I love – we’re a resilient bunch and are constantly striving to better ourselves.

We will get through these challenging times ahead. We will adapt and we will come out stronger. But we can’t do it alone, we need to work together.

Simon Gray is founder of Leeds-based 
Boost Energy Drinks.

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James Mitchinson