Clark and Son Meats in Long Melford transforms business model to find success during coronavirus crisis
From facing closure to making 1,000 deliveries per week, a butchers has found new life amid the coronavirus crisis – and it intends to stick with the new business model once the lockdown is over.
Clark and Son Meats in Long Melford, which has been running since 1998, was dealt a major blow when the pandemic hit, after its business dried up overnight as restaurants and other regular clients shut their doors.
Determined to avoid having to lay off or furlough any staff, owner Justin Clark was forced to rapidly adapt and, in the space of less than two weeks, transitioned to a delivery-based business model.
Having overhauled its online and social media presence, including a complete revamp of its website, the Cordell Road-based business is now offering door-to-door deliveries of boxes of fresh meat within a 40-mile radius of Long Melford.
Mr Clark, who has been in the industry for 25 years, explained the transformation process was a huge change for the business, but he was delighted by the feedback they have received from customers.
He told the Free Press the service has been successful enough to enable him to retain all of his employees, and that delivering directly to the public will remain the focus of the business.
“It’s definitely going to be a major part of our business going forward,” he said. “We never had any retail element at all. It was 100 per cent wholesale and catering. Retail was completely alien to us.
“We served all the high-end restaurants. That was our main business, and they literally closed overnight.
“It has been a massive change, but it was that, or we would have had to close. The response has been phenomenal. Everybody has really got behind us.
“I’ve managed to keep all of my staff. They have been with me for a long time and rely on the business. It has been a complete turnaround.
“We’ve got literally hundreds of testimonials from customers. We try to speak to every customer over the phone. It’s a very personal service that we’re offering.”
Mr Clark added that the plans to expand the range of products they offer, including introducing wine pairings with the meats, and will continue to refine the order process.
He also gave thanks to business consultant Thomas Jamison for his support with developing the new business model and redesigning the website.
Mr Jamison said: “Obviously, when Covid-19 hit, the business was dead in the water and they needed to do something quickly to survive.
“They’re a long-standing butchers and they thought, what can we do to retain our employees?
“This was a case of fight or flight. Justin has managed to save his business and he has used technology to overhaul the business model.
“The delivery business is growing and the digital profile is growing. It’s superb. It’s great to see a traditional business saved.
“This is a British business buying produce from British farmers to fuel the local economy. That’s a huge win in my eyes.”
To find out more about Clark and Son Meats, or to place an order for a fresh meat box, telephone 01787 319330 or go online to www.clarkandsonmeats.com.
More by this authorThomas Malina
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