Staff at Billy Wilson’s, Whitby, working 14 hour days to deliver supplies
Billy Wilson’s has been delivering supplies across Whitby and the surrounding area for over half a century, but the Covid-19 crisis has seen them dealing with an unprecedented rise in demand from the general public.
The brother and sister team of Simon Page and Sarah Chambers, took over the running of the business when grandad Billy sadly passed away in February.
Along with the rest of the staff at the wholesalers based on Church Street, Whitby, they have been working long hours to ensure all orders are filled, with days that begin before 7.30am and last until after 9.00pm at night.
Sarah said people were only just starting to realise that the wholesalers is also open to the general public. In a post on Facebook she said: “My grandad Bill would have absolutely loved the amount of local custom and support that we have had over the past few days.
“Thank you to each and everyone of you who have bought locally. We really appreciate it. “Mine and Simon's first month without him at the business and we’ve got a pandemic - it’s unbelievable !!!”
The family also own the rock shop and a cafe on Sandgate, which they closed immediately, not wanting to put any one at risk.
The company has now formed partnerships with other local businesses including Whitby Seafoods, Stonehouse Bakery, Danby and Dennis Crooks Fish Merchants to offer customers as wide a range of food as possible.
“We always put bundles and offers on the Facebook page,” said Sarah, “Our fruit and veg £10 mix up boxes have been very popular this week, but we can’t keep up with the bread!”
She said the business initially planned to open on Sunday morning, but after husband Paul worked until 10pm driving to Middlesbrough to get potatoes on Saturday evening, they decided that the best thing they could do was give all staff a day off to ensure they stay healthy.
The company offers free delivery across Whitby (daily) and the surrounding villages (three times per week), with routes covering Robin Hood’s Bay, the Esk Valley as far as Castleton and villages along the coast road as far as Staithes and Loftus.
They have also had enquiries to deliver to Scarborough and if there are enough orders to make a round up, they would deliver there a couple of times a week as well.
Sarah said that all staff are mindful of the Coronavirus and are taking extra precautions to work in a way that doesn’t put their customers at risk, drivers are delivering using face masks and gloves to ensure that both they and their customers are kept safe.
She said: “We are offering that if people order over the phone, we will happily drop off in the garden or shed and take payment via bank transfer, so there doesn’t need to be any face to face contact at all.”
“People can also order on Facebook via Facebook Messenger, we’re watching it all the time. We had a lady on Saturday who needed something urgently and we were able to drop it off with her. We’re also available via telephone on 01947 603043 or 07817 753 363.”
And what would Billy Wilson have made of all this? Sarah said: “My grandad would have been over the moon and so proud that we are helping people. He worked in the business for 52 years and his business was his life. He would have loved it.”