120-year-old cafe goes online

A 120-year-old cafe has launched a click-and-collect service for customers after signing up to a new online system that aims to save local high streets during lockdown and beyond.

The Soup Kitchen, in Church Lane, Stafford, got its e-commerce site up and running in just a day after Ourlocal.uk came to Duncan Sandy’s aid.

Launched by local entrepreneur Darren Nelson, Ourlocal.uk is an company that designs and delivers e-commerce websites for small businesses – covering the cost of set-up – so they can take online orders and arrange deliveries and collections.

Nelson is also covering all the subscription costs for the duration of the lockdown.

Sandy said he was eager to get online to provide a takeaway service to help save his cafe, which has operated from the same site for 120 years.

“Darren managed to get us online in just a day which has been amazing and the great thing about ordering online is customers can pre-order and choose a time slot to collect,” said Sandy, whose family has run the cafe for 40 years.

“There is no minimum order and they know their freshly baked scones, for example, will be waiting for them when they arrive.

“With the current situation we have had to adapt to stay in business. It’s been a big change this year but I can’t believe how supportive our customers have been.

“The Soup Kitchen has been here so long it has a loyal following and they really care about us. It makes us feel quite emotional – I want to say a big thank you to them.

“Our first day went well, it was definitely encouraging and we’ve even had orders come through on Monday for the weekend which is great. We wanted to start small to get it right but we may bring delivery in in the future. The aim is it’s not just for lockdown, but afterwards as well.”

The Soup Kitchen launched its online offering with a limited menu of coffees, teas, scones, cakes, hot food and afternoon teas for collection.

Nelson, who recently sold highway maintenance business Carnell Support Services, joined forces with businessmen Russ James and Andi Elliott to launch Ourlocal.uk and has invested heavily in it to try to help small, independent businesses across the UK.

He said: “I’m so pleased to see that Ourlocal.uk is helping another local business to survive in these difficult times. It’s vital that we all support our local businesses because thousands of jobs are at stake.

“Ourlocal.uk provides low-cost, e-commerce websites and because I’ve committed to footing the bill for these businesses until we are out of lockdown, they have a risk-free opportunity to become online retailers quickly and start to generate much-needed income.”

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