Butcher eyes expansion after online lockdown boom

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A butchers in Solihull is planning to expand its premises to meet growing demand for its online delivery service with the help of a £150,000 finance package.

Eric Lyons Butchers, a fifth-generation family-owned business in Knowle, will use the funding from Lloyds Bank, provided as part of the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to increase the size of its store on Knowle High Street with a specialist packaging and distribution centre, office space and increased fridge space.

The expansion will help the butchers to meet the demand for its online delivery service, which was launched during the first national lockdown in March 2020.

The business is currently making more than 150 deliveries each week, resulting in an increase to its annual turnover by more than a quarter.

The firm has grown its team from nine to 14 employees during the pandemic and expects to take on more staff in its packaging, distribution and delivery teams to meet the increased demand, as well as increase the radius it is currently able to deliver to from four miles to five miles.

The funds will be used to develop the business’ existing online platform and grow its digital presence as it continues to explore new avenues for growth.

Nick Lyons, director at Eric Lyons Butchers, said: “Our online delivery service began as a way to safeguard our staff and better service customers during the pandemic, but it has really taken off and shows no sign of slowing. We’ve seen demand remain high even when we’ve been able to open the shop without affecting footfall, so it will continue to be an important part of our business as we move forward.”

The business has previously received support from Lloyds Bank in 2018 to install a new hot food and food-to-go counter, as well as increased refrigeration space.

Nigel Arnold, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “Eric Lyons’ forward thinking during lockdown has helped them to tap into a huge opportunity. The new investment will enable the firm to scale up its delivery service even further and ensure it remains an important part of its growth moving forward.”