MaruMarket Home Delivery, the service set up to link local independent traders with their customers online, was launched by John Cant in February this year. Since that time the concept has proved so successful the service is now widening its remit to include not only Beverley where it is based, but also Hull, Market Weighton, Newbald, Skirlaugh, and Willerby.
In the early days only a few traders joined the scheme: H.Peck and Son, fishmongers; Fresh-n- Fruity, greengrocer and florist and The Blending Room, tea and coffee producer were the first to see the advantages – but as word spread through the business community others were keen to be involved too. Marson’s Butcher, TC Patisserie and White Rabbit Chocolate are now all on board.
The current blend of shops involved in the scheme already means it enables customers to do everyday shopping and to easily find delicious treats for themselves and their family or as gifts for others on special occasions.
The core philosophy of MaruMarket, John Cant explains, is to provide quality produce at the right price and he was pleasantly surprised when research in conjunction with the industry magazine, The Grocer, showed that the prices on offer from MaruMarket proved better than many supermarkets.
He continued to say that the scheme’s wider philosophy is based in his belief in the importance of supporting local producers in his business. ”Supporting the local community is what we're all about. In addition to the Beverley shops we've teamed up with a number of East Yorkshire producers to help them distribute across the region. We supply flour from Skidby Windmill, a range of environmentally friendly household products from Hull based Bio-D, Chilli Sauce from Beverley producer Guillermo Yanes and cereals from Side Oven Bakery near Driffield.”
He goes on to say:
‘I'm really enjoying running the business and it seems that both the shops involved and our customers are happy too. It's a win-win situation, as the service enables shops to offer supermarket convenience and choice while our customers really appreciate our unrivalled customer service and product quality. Expanding the service is obviously something I've been itching to do, but we've had to do it the right way. The operation was already fairly complex, so it's a battle between offering customers greater choice and keeping the logistics under control. And most important is we maintain the traceability aspect of where food comes from and the trustworthiness of our suppliers. Our customers know us, we know our suppliers and our suppliers know the producers. It's that simple and that's how it should be.’
Comments from both suppliers and customers appear to agree.
Fresh N Fruity have been on board from the start and owner Tracey Hartley told us how it's helped her business, “I was unsure about joining the scheme at first as I didn't really use computers much myself. But I thought I'd give it a go and I'm really glad I did. Not only have we seen sales increase through MaruMarket but we've had more customers start to come to our shop because of the website.
TC Patisserie joined more recently but is already seeing the benefits. Chef and owner Thierry Condette says, “It's a great idea and we're really happy to be part of it. As small businesses, it's important to co-operate with each other. The supermarkets have all the power and massive resources so it's great that this is giving us a bit of ammunition to fight back.”
A Beverley resident, Mollie Smith, has regular deliveries and is a real advocate of the service. ‘We have always preferred the quality available from local shops, but as I need to use a mobility scooter to get around it used to prove difficult. MaruMarket is a wonderful service and John is always very helpful when he delivers. I'm delighted to see that more shops have joined and I am convinced the service will continue to prosper.’
MaruMarket’s good news coincides with “Independents Day” on July 4th when the local community is encouraged to support local independent traders. This national campaign, organised by the National Skills Academy for Retail, champions all the local retailers who make the UK’s villages, towns and cities so special.
John feels MaruMarket already supports this initiative. ‘ Working with local producers is really important for our business,’ he says, ‘ it benefits everyone involved. Financially, it directly helps the local economy. We don't waste fuel with vast supply chains and food reaches the shops fresher than when it's been sitting in a warehouse or travelling the length of the country on a lorry.”
Delivery slots are available from Monday to Friday (HULL DAY is Tuesday!) and MaruMarket is offering free delivery with the first order. For more information visit www.marumarket.co.uk.