During the coronavirus pandemic, deliveries from local retailers are back and bigger than ever. The few big supermarkets that were involved in the delivery of groceries have buckled under the weight of new orders and people are being asked to wait weeks before an available delivery slot becomes available.
Into the breach have stepped all manner of retailers and groups who are making the lives of vulnerable people safer and the lives of those who find regular trips to shops during the coronavirus pandemic increasingly stressful.
There are restaurants that would never have imagined delivering food to the front doors of Ireland now more than happy to do so, while hardware shops are dropping paint off at people homes, and off-licences and wine sellers and other shops are helping people to avoid queues by ordering online.
We asked on social media last week for details of reimagined delivery companies. Within hours we had hundreds of responses. Here are just some of them:
Hapi Food Co has started a co-op to supply people in the area with fresh, locally sourced produce. One reader said it was "amazing". It also sells basic cleaning supplies. hapifoodco.ie
Dublin Meat Company delivers to areas in north Dublin from its Blanchardstown shop while its Stillorgan shop caters for people on the southside and its Swords shop delivers to the surrounding area. dublinmeatcompany.com
The Fruit People started out delivering fruit to offices but has dramatically increased its home service as the Covid-19 crisis has unfolded. It doesn't just do fruit and vegetables – it also sells a range of milk, bread, eggs, breakfast cereals and treats. thefruitpeople.ie
Dublin Food Drop aims to deliver "bespoke honest and wholesome meals across Dublin". Among the options are weekly recipe boxes in which you will get enough ingredients to feed two people for four or five days. There are three versions: the meat version is €95, the reduced meat version is €90 and a vegetarian version costs €85. facebook.com/dublinfooddrop
Kish Fish: The queues that have been forming outside the Dublin 7 fish shop in recent days are testament to the quality of the food on offer. While the Kish people have been rigorously maintaining social distancing in store, it has also launched an online delivery service promising next-day delivery on all orders places before midday. The range of fish on offer is expansive and the prices are reasonable. The food is delivered in cooler boxes. kishfish.ie
All of the Rolling Donut outlets have been closed but that does not mean you have to do without an occasional treat if you live within its delivery radius. You can get an assortment of 12 ring doughnuts for €28 or 12 sourdough doughnuts for €32. therollingdonut.ie
The supermarket Fresh has entered the delivery space and is promising home delivery spanning a huge area of Dublin city within 48 hours of orders being placed for a charge of €7.95. freshthegoodfoodmarket.ie
Deliveroo has recently branched out and is now collecting shopping for people. It has signed deals with several supermarkets including Spar, Fallon & Byrne, Londis and Mace to allow customers shop on its app for household goods and get them delivered by a Deliveroo rider under a system called "essentials".
The people of Carlow and Laois are lucky to have the Village Dairy on their doorstep. Alongside its delivery of fresh organic milk and other dairy products, the company has started delivering other products including eggs, juice and bread from other local businesses. villagedairy.ie
The bicycle people at Rothar have set up a free nationwide delivery service for any order over €60. rothar.ie
Bujo Burger is promising to deliver everything you need to make eight of its famous burgers in your house complete with the necessary recipe to "ensure you recreate our masterpiece", for €40. For that your get the burgers, buns, mustard, magic sauce, cheese and gherkins. bujo.ie
New Market Kitchen has started using its production kitchen to produce high-quality chilled meals. They are a team of "real local chefs in Bray who lost businesses because of Covid-19. So we've come together to deliver you traditional healthy meals. You can pick-up in Bray or they will deliver to your door – anywhere between north Wicklow, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown. Hell, we'll deliver anywhere if it makes cents," they say. newmarketkitchen.com
StuffUNeed is an excellent example of what can be achieved in a very short space of time when people work together. The shopping service was launched just a few weeks ago to get essential items and household goods to people across Dublin. The start-up has hired hospitality staff who lost their jobs as the crisis developed. On the site you will find food and groceries from avocados to Zinfandel. stuffuneed.ie
It doesn't have to be stuff you need; sometimes it can be stuff you want. L Mulligan Grocer on Manor Street in Dublin 7 was set to launch a cocktail and cheeseboard delivery service last week. We had no details at the time of writing but it is certainly worth keeping an eye out. lmulligangrocer1.weebly.com
Nicky's Plaice is a fish shop beloved of the denizens of Howth and not just because of its punny name. It has started doing home deliveries across north Dublin. nickysplaice.com
We were tipped off to the John Stone Beef Shop by chef Gary O'Hanlon. "Normally this gear goes to the best restaurants in Ireland and around the world," he tells us. And now it can go to you, if you live in the Munster area. johnstonebeefshop.com
Times have been hard for independent bookshops but they are still standing, albeit it in a virtual sense. The Gutter Bookshop is offering a limited delivery service from its Cow's Lane shop in Dublin and has had the novel (ha!) idea of encouraging people to buy more book vouchers to be used when shops open again. It sounds like a good way to support local businesses.
The Butler's Pantry has nine shops around Dublin and has moved into the nationwide delivery service, too. It will send seven-day meal packs, family favourites pack and more to wherever you are in the country. It has a seven-day meal pack for one person for €99 or a family deal for €199. thebutlerspantry.ie
Lilliput Stores in Stoneybatter, Dublin, has started a home delivery service in recent days and is promising to deliver a range of 150 of its products to people in the Dublin 7 area. lilliputstores.com
The Punnet Health Store which has shops in Glasthule and on Dublin's Mount St have a new greater Dublin delivery service for fruit, vegetables bread, milk and eggs. In fact all of the products available in-store can now be bought online. punnet.ie
If you find yourself at home and at a loose end, you may decide to paint something. But you may not have any paint. Now Pat McDonnell Paints has you covered. It has started accepting phone orders and is doing free delivery, too. mcdonnellpaints.ie
Avoca has stepped up to the plate and is offering a delivery and collection service, and customers can shop everything from its entire food range. The collection service is for everyone, while the delivery option is operating within a 10km radius of the its shops in Rathcoole, Kilmacanoge, Dunboyne, Ballsbridge, Monkstown and Malahide. avoca.com
Kenny's Bookshop in Galway is offering free delivery across Ireland and there are hundreds of thousand of titles – 300,000 in fact – to choose from. kennys.ie
Despite its name the Seed Potato Company does not sell just potatoes. In fact it sells a large range of fruit and vegetables at prices that look very good to Pricewatch. It is offering delivery across Dublin. seedpotatocompany.com
The gastropub folk at 57 The Headline has teamed up with local suppliers and breweries to bring home delivery to local areas of its carefully selected beer, gin and wine range. Delivery is available nationwide for only €5 per order. The range looks excellent. 57theheadline.com
Blessington Bookstop is offering virtual book buying through WhatsApp video with daily local delivery and free postage in Ireland. blessingtonbookstore.ie
The gorgeous-looking Mud Bakery has started a home delivery service and we are told the cakes are flying off the shelves. It's not hard to see why. mudbakery.ie
Not only does Fitzgerald's Butchers in Fermoy, Co Cork, rear its own cattle and sell its own meat, it has also started delivering it in the local area. And one customer got in touch with us to say the service was "excellent". fitzgeraldsbutchers.ie
Halfway Up the Stairs is a children's bookshop in Greystones, Co Wicklow, and last week staff started working behind closed doors offering a delivery service within 2km and postal service beyond that. halfwayupthestairs.ie
Looking for a company that is delivering food in your area? Well, there's an app for that. And it has a snappy name too. It can be found at eatforireland.ie.
"We've had to go from farmers to ecommerce experts overnight," the people at Co Mayo sheep dairy business Velvet Cloud tell us. "We lost 50 per cent of business when restaurants closed, went online with nationwide delivery just under three weeks ago [and are] surprised and delighted with the results. Huge learning curve but worth it." We've not tried the products but we have heard from several readers they are excellent. velvetcloud.ie
We have heard wonderful things about Flying Elephant in recent weeks. They sell desks that can be built and dismantled in minutes, a perfect product for the times we live in. One reader needed a new desk and ordered from the flying elephant site on a Friday morning. They custom made it my measurements and it was delivered within 48 hours. flyingelephant.ie
The Green Grocer in Stoneybatter has started a delivery service, which has been receiving rave reviews by those who have used it. All sorts of fruit and vegetables delivered straight to your home with a commendably fast turnaround time. It has also dramatically expanded its organic range in recent days. facebook.com/thegreengrocerstoneybatter
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Three Steps: A bakery business moves online
Peter O’Connor is managing director of Quigley’s cafe, bakery and deli chain in the midlands, which has had to reinvent itself during the coronavirus pandemic. Quigley’s is a family-owned company run by Peter and his sister Niamh.
There are 18 shops throughout Leinster and Munster and a bakery and kitchens in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.
Since he and his sister took over the company, they have had their fair share of challenges, not least a fire in Douglas Village shopping centre last year, which forced one of their shops to close.
He says the company rose to that challenge “in a somewhat linear fashion and opened a new store in Tallaght to compensate for our loss of revenue in Douglas”.
Responding to Covid-19 has not been so straightforward.
He says the response had three stages. First the company shut down all operations in the middle of March as a result of a big drop in sales. “We had to contain the bleed and direct action was taken.”
At the start of April his sister took the second step, when she “made an impulsive decision to open our original store in Nenagh for take-home bakery product only” and she called the staff needed to help them start up.
“We had a skeleton team formed the next morning and production began. It boomed [and] was a significant help to gain momentum,” he says. “It was a fantastic feeling to see our staff come back at such short notice and work incredibly hard to do what was needed to reopen in less than 24 hours.”
Then came the third stage. “We did some more digging and looked at what others were doing in other sectors and decided to set up a delivery service for Limerick city for a range of Easter cakes, cupcakes, treat boxes and ‘I miss you’ cakes.”
On Monday, April 6th, the company’s web developer added a secondary domain to our Quigleys.ie for the purpose of a home delivery service in Limerick. “We developed our product range and had the website live in 24 hours.” Then they had cold feet and “decided we were going to drop the idea and not bother with it”.
He woke up the following morning “and made the executive decision it was going live at 9am. I advertised the post on social media at 9.30and had my orders capacity full by 4pm. I delivered all the goods myself.”
He said the company still has to decide on the next steps but he expressed the hope that Quigley’s experience so far may provide “motivation to those who are at a standstill at the moment. We don’t plan to make a fortune out of the small opportunity that presents itself to us, but it has taught us so much so far about our people and our customers. We believe maintaining momentum now will do us well in creating customer loyalty, adapting our current custom to online and attracting a new online customer base.”