Success Story - Taylor Wholesale, Montrose
How the Covid-19 lockdown affected Taylor Wholesale in Montrose
When Covid-19 and lockdown hit Taylor Wholesale it had some extreme effects on our small family-owned business. Overnight almost 80% of our customers such as pubs and restaurants were forced to close and along with them went our business.
We went from a staff of 12 people down to 2. We were forced to take 2 of our 4 vans off the road as we didn’t have enough deliveries to keep them going. Being wholesalers for soft drinks, confectionery and crisps we didn’t have the option to close as we would be left with massive amounts of stock that would go out of date. We have been trading for 41 years and this was by far the hardest period our business had ever experienced. However, we were determined to make the most out of the situation and make it through the rough patch.
Change to survive
With the advice of Colin Smith from the Scottish Wholesale Association, we engaged with Scottish Enterprise who then put us in contact with Michelle Shepherd at Business Gateway. Michelle instantly had several great ideas which we are currently exploring and implementing. Business Gateway is encouraging us to pivot our business from solely Business to Business to open our depot to the public and advertise directly to the consumer.
It became clear that we needed to brainstorm ways to pivot our business in order to keep it going. We decided to explore the area of selling straight to the consumer and supplying goods to the public, which we had never done before. With people stuck in their houses and encouraged to try not to go into supermarkets and shops, we felt that we could help our community in this way and supply food items straight to their door! We began taking orders over Facebook and used family to help deliver locally.
Taking advantage of the quieter time
With the majority of our business closed and the warehouse being a lot quieter than usual, we took advantage of this time to transform our warehouse and give it a revamp. We took down shelving that had been up since we opened in 1979 and replaced this with new racking to help give the warehouse a more open layout which would also be more public-friendly. We also used some of this newly found time to make name and price labels for all our products on the shelves to give the warehouse a more cash and carry feel. We also carried out health and safety checks to make sure we had all the required measures in place to keep our staff and customers safe when visiting us.
How Taylor Wholesale supported the community
Even though our business was down massively we still managed to find ways to help out in our community like donating goods close to their sell by date to our local food bank. We also began a partnership with Montrose Links Community Trust and supply goods at cost price in order to help the charity do the most that they could do to help those that needed it.
Boosting Morale and Growing Online Presence
We tried to have some fun and boost morale by running some competitions for things like boxes of chocolate or for a limited-edition case of 1901 Irn Bru. These competitions helped us boost our Facebook likes from around 800 likes up to 2500 likes. We also spent a lot of time designing ‘Care Packs’ which included different assortments of juice, sweets, crisps and biscuits that we would deliver to customers and provide them with a variety of different products to reduce the amount of time they would have to spend in shops.
To the future
Although the implications of the pandemic originally made business rather difficult for us, our determination to see the silver lining of the situation has put us in a better place than we were in before Covid-19. We now have a much more organised warehouse, are almost back at full staff, have cleared stock that we had been sitting on, have opened up to the general public, and are starting to stock new products such a cereal and are in the process of beginning to stock alcohol!
Finally, we would like to thank our customer base for continually supporting us and for settling accounts quickly to help us with our commitments to our major suppliers.