A FAMILY-RUN fruit and vegetable wholesaler has launched a delivery service with the help of bank funding after the majority of its customers, including bars, restaurants, hotels and schools, closed their doors when the lockdown came into force.

As the majority of Charles Stamper Fruit & Veg’s customers went under the government mandated shutdown in March it created “significant pressure” on cash flow.

The Edinburgh business moved into home delivery using its fleet of refrigerated vans in response. It set up a dedicated website to take orders and added household essentials to its product range, including tinned goods, condiments and kitchen roll.

The shift to home delivery was supported by long-time banking partner Bank of Scotland. It provided a six-figure loan through the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), helping the wholesaler pay new suppliers and cover costs while its catering customers are unable to pay for orders completed before Scotland entered lockdown.

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Charles Stamper Fruit & Veg has provided Scotland’s hospitality, education and care sectors with fresh produce since 1992, and its products bar specialty items are sourced locally and delivered loose to minimise the use of plastics.

Louise Stamper, managing director, said: “We were watching television as a family when the stay at home order was announced and decided almost immediately to launch a home delivery service.

“Such a radical change seemed daunting at first, bbut, thanks to a massive team effort, we’ve now completed thousands of home orders. We’ve been blown away by the demand and motivated by all the positive feedback we’ve received on social media.

“Crucially, our new retail customers pay for goods ahead of delivery. It’s a departure from the traditional business model of a wholesaler that gives us steady income until our catering clients reopen. The support from Bank of Scotland has been invaluable as we’ve made that change.”

Meanwhile, the Old Curiosity Distillery has secured a £250,000 loan from Royal Bank of Scotland through the same scheme.

The funding will provide the Edinburgh-based business, which currently employs 28 staff at its distillery and herb garden, with essential cash flow, helping to secure jobs and protect the future viability of the company.

Old Curiosity claims to be the only gin distillery in the UK to grow its own botanical ingredients onsite. During the coronavirus outbreak, the distiller has been producing its own hand sanitiser using herbal ingredients and essential oils. Harrods and Fortnum and Mason are customers.