30th April, 2020, Stephenson Smart
Stephenson Smart client, Howards Butchers and Abattoir, has bustling stores in Gayton, near King’s Lynn and West Newton, near Sandringham. With lockdown in place, owners Julian and Clare Howard decided to implement an outdoor collection and free home delivery service across west and north Norfolk.
The move sees staff make up to 200 deliveries a week to make sure vulnerable and elderly clients, some of which have shopped with the company for more than 50 years, don’t miss out on produce they would normally buy on a weekly basis.
Clare said Howards had been supported by Stephenson Smart with full information about Covid-19 and the possible implications to the business.
She said: “We have been really ably assisted by Stephenson Smart who have guided us through every step of the way and kept us updated of any relevant changes and issues we may have come up against while trying to keep going. We only switched to them a few years ago and it was the best decision we made.”
Howards was established in 1920 by the late Harry Howard and now grandson Julian and wife Clare are the third generation of the family to run it.
The business holds a Royal Warrant, serving The Queen when she is in residence at Sandringham, and prides itself on its ability to use animals reared on local farms, with full traceability available throughout the farm to fork process.
Clare said: “We put measures in place before lockdown of only letting two customers in at any one time and only after they had sanitised their hands and put gloves on, which we provided.
“It became clear though that we really needed to close the store to the public and only allow orders placed by telephone, which could be collected at a designated time from an outdoor trolley or delivered free to their door.
“We are still providing a full service, but from a distance, making sure everyone is safe.”
Howards employs eight people across both shops, three of which make between 25 and 30 deliveries per day across a 50-mile radius.
Aside from fresh and cooked meat, the shop also sells homemade pies, cheese, pate, fresh fruit, vegetables and tinned products.
“People are pretty much able to get everything they need from us. In Gayton we have lots of customers that remember my husband’s father and his grandfather running the shop, so they have been shopping with us for many decades,” said Clare.
“They can’t get out at all, so if they need any extras like a Lynn News, we will get it for them and pop it in with their delivery.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the support we are receiving; our customers are amazing.”
Claire Melton, Partner at Stephenson Smart said: “Julian and Clare run a tremendous business and it is really lovely to see how they have adapted during these challenging times to make sure their long-standing customers, many of whom are isolated, receive their shopping.
“We are really proud to act for them and to help their new venture with advice and support.”