The shortlist of the UK’s finest speciality retailers for the 2021 Farm Shop & Deli Awards, in partnership with The Grocer, has been announced…and Gates Farm Shop in Cold Overton is up for Best in Region.
Representing the Midlands, Gates Farm Shop has been nominated in the Farm Shop – Large Retailer category. This year’s Awards celebrate specialist retailers who deserve recognition for their outstanding commitment shown to customers, community, staff and suppliers in what has been a very difficult year for all.
Gates Farm Shop opened in Autumn 2019, with a focus on offering the finest produce, sourced locally wherever possible and promising customers a true foodie experience.
The butchery, run by award winning Hambleton Farms, sells a wide variety of quality meat from a select group of farmers, with beef and lamb coming from Gates own farm in the village, helping to keep food miles to a minimum.
At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020, Gates Farm Shop launched a Call & Collect service to support the most vulnerable people in its local community – many of whom were finding it very difficult to shop safely for food and other basics. A highly personal service, customers telephoned to speak directly with a member of the farm shop team, who shopped on their behalf whilst on the phone. Contactless collection was then arranged, with shopping being placed directly into the car boot on arrival, so customers didn’t need to get out. Free delivery was also offered if customers didn’t feel comfortable driving out to collect.
The Gates team were told often that they were the only person some customers had spoken to that day or even that week. Staff were always happy to chat as they knew they were providing valuable support when many older people felt so isolated and helpless during the early weeks and months of the pandemic.
The farm shop also launched a brand new website for customers that preferred to shop online, at gatesfarmshop.co.uk.
Gates has had incredibly positive feedback on its new services, with many customers saying the Farm Shop was a lifeline, particularly in the early days.
One customer commented on Facebook: “Myself and my 9 year old son have an auto immune disease and are high risk. I have been running around all week trying to get food and failed! I came over to Gates this afternoon and you had everything! It was calm and friendly and not crowded. I would just like to say a big thank you to everyone there!”.
Another said: “You were our saviours throughout lockdown with your phone and collect service. Loved speaking to your staff and the trip to get our stash of goodies. We still take trips out now just for some of your food gorgeousness.”.
Gates Farm Shop is thrilled to be recognised in this way and to be shortlisted for this prestigious Award. It has been a challenging year, one in which we have had to evolve and respond very quickly to constant change. However, in return we have been rewarded by incredible loyalty and support from our customers and our local community, for which we are most grateful.
The shortlist for this year’s Awards is now being evaluated by an expert judging panel lead by broadcaster and journalist Nigel Barden, to determine the ‘Commented Retailers’ and ‘Best in Region Winners’ across the UK. The live announcement will take place at 15.00 on Monday 5th July 2021 at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, NEC Birmingham.