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Rapid van order turnaround aids greengrocer switch to deliveries

Independent greengrocers Bonners has enabled ongoing business operations and brought support to its retail customers by swiftly switching to retail deliveries.

The refrigerated Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van was with the Bonners team within 24 hours of receiving the quote

The business has been based out of the historic Oxford Covered Market, providing a service to retail and wholesale customers, but the wholesale arm shut down overnight with the closure of hotels, restaurants and colleges. In contrast, its request for delivery orders increased in the region of 300 a day.

Verity Piggott who is co-owner of Bonners with her husband Gordon explained: “People were calling and emailing to say they had nothing and were on their own. We really wanted to help everyone, but didn’t have the vehicles necessary to be able to meet the delivery demand.

With the immediate need for a refrigerated van, to ensure its produce remained fresh during delivery, Bonners turned to Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle dealer, Rygor Commercials, which it already had a long relationship with.

Within minutes of an online chat, the sales team had called Verity and, some two hours later, Bonners had received a quote for a Sprinter refrigerated van on finance and placed an order.

Verity explained: “I don’t think we have ever made such a quick decision, but John and the team were so helpful and understood our needs. By the next day, the van was with us. A turnaround of 24 hours is unbelievable and was so important to help us carry on our work and keep the business moving.”

Thanks to Bonners’ work though, many other traders at Oxford Covered Market have been able to transform their offerings; Bonners customers can now also directly order meet, cheese, coffee, bread, drinks and flowers from other traders and receive them in one delivery.

“We were conscious that there are lots of local people who could really do with a delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables to their door, especially during the current health pandemic. However, with the majority of food ordering for home delivery being online, we have found that many elderly and vulnerable people struggle to place orders. We wanted to make it as easy as possible, so as well as our online ordering system, we are taking orders over the phone,” Verity added.

John Lloyd, Rygor van sales manager, commented: “We know these are challenging times for many businesses across the UK, so as a team we continue to go out of our way to help our customers keep their businesses moving forwards. It is incredibly important that those of us who can, stay home, but we know that there are businesses and critical workers needing to be on the road and continuing to provide their essential services. It is brilliant to see a company like Bonners adapting and enhancing the way they work to help support the most vulnerable.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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