Baker ‘brings the bread home’ as lockdown keeps customers away from shops

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Managing Director Lewis Maclean gets ready for the delivery run to take his bakery items direct to customers' homes. Pic: Marc Hindley

A Forres business owner who has lost three-quarters of his retail trade in the coronavirus lockdown has decided if his customers can’t come to him, then he will go to them.

Maclean’s Highland Bakery, based at the Greshop Industrial Estate, supplies its four shops and other retailers with bread, biscuits and pies and is well-established in the area. As a food supplier, Maclean’s was exempt from closure when the lockdown was announced, but the massive downturn in trade has meant looking at other business models.

Starting this week, Maclean’s Highland Bakery will deliver a box of bread or savoury items direct to customers’ doors, and managing director Lewis Maclean will be swapping his executive chair for the driving seat of the van.

He said: “We decided to launch a home delivery service as we were aware of a lot of our community were self-isolating. Not everyone has relations and friends to help with this.

“We have been hit with a sales decrease of 75% in a matter of two weeks. We are much luckier than some people as we are still able to work in a lesser extent but at least some money coming in. in the process, we have furloughed 50 staff in the bakery and 25 in the shops.

“Our staff have been magnificent and truly humbled by their response. Without their support, we would not be able to keep our shops open.”

Lewis says he’s taking on the role of the delivery driver to see what challenges social distancing throws up. He’s also looking for other local producers that they could deliver at the same time.

“It has to be done in an extremely safe way for the customers and staff,” he added.

Lewis says if the lockdown continued for more than six months, the business would not survive in its current format and has had to adapt production to concentrate on a core range of products to supply their shops and wholesale customers in the local area. The addition of the delivery service will boost this plan.

Lewis believes the effect of the lockdown will change the way we live and work.

He added: “As a generation, this virus will have a big influence on what is really important in life going forward. It will greatly influence all business plans for the future.”

However, Lewis is optimistic about the future and is already planning for the end of the lockdown.

“I have promised my staff one hell of a Christmas party if we can get through this as a way of rewarding their loyalty and dedication,” he said.

Starting at £10, boxes of bread and savoury pies can be ordered and paid for over the phone by calling 01309 672859. See their Facebook page for details.

  • See more businesses offering food delivery during the coronavirus lockdown.
Marc Hindley
Author: Marc Hindley

Marc has worked as journalist and photographer all over Scotland. He also runs a PR and digital marketing agency Canary Dwarf. He has lived in Forres with his wife and three children since 2001.