Ottery farm shop offers ‘a bit of normality’ during coronavirus crisis

Beth Ashfield and Andrea Broadhurst at the Coldharbour Farm Shop.

Beth Ashfield and Andrea Broadhurst at the Coldharbour Farm Shop. - Credit: Archant

An Ottery farm shop has branched out into delivering household essentials, plants and compost during the coronavirus lockdown.

Coldharbour Farm Shop in East Hill is also staying open to offer people ‘a bit of normality’.

Co-owner Andrea Broadhurst said: “When the lockdown was declared, Beth (Ashfield) and I decided that we would step up to the plate and transform our shop to offer all the essentials that we could source.

“By this time panic buying had already started and it was really hard to find things like loo rolls, flour, pasta - well you remember all the things we took for granted that suddenly became like gold dust.

“We already had an extensive home-produced ready meal menu that we offered free delivery on orders over £40 in place, so we built our delivery system around that basis and offered the service to Ottery and the surrounding villages.

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“Our deliveries include fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy, bread, essentials, ready meals, plants & compost.

They also wanted to provide a calm environment for customers who, she said, were finding the situation ‘emotionally draining’.

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“At the start of this journey that we’re all on together, the anxiety and worry that so many of our customers were experiencing was overwhelming.

“It was then that we decided to implement a ‘one customer policy’ in the shop.

“All our customers have been grateful to have a quiet little shopping experience in a calm and peaceful environment, a bit of normality in this crazy situation.

“So anyone who is feeling particularly vulnerable can feel safe in a little oasis.

“No-one knew what to expect and we still don’t know, but it feels a lot calmer now.

“Many of our customers, old and new, have thanked us for staying open and doing what we do, and our reply is always the same: ‘You’re welcome’.

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