Nisa retailers across the country have stepped up to offer help to the elderly and vulnerable as coronavirus fears escalate, by offering extended services to customers including free deliveries and donations of hand sanitiser.
As shoppers continue to empty supermarket shelves of staple grocery lines such as pasta, tinned goods, toilet roll and hygiene products, a number of local retailers sent out messages on social media and launched new services to ease the strain on people most at risk.
Nisa CEO Ken Towle also tweeted photos on Twitter of fully stocked stores on Saturday morning with the message: “So much choice and hardly a gap. It’s what we do.”
In Essex, Alan Carr of Newport Village Stores in Saffron Walden is offering a free delivery service for food and essentials to anyone in self-isolation or any elderly people who are worried about leaving their homes.
“There will be a leaflet drop next week but if people know of anyone not on Facebook with concerns, we’re asking them to inform them and spread the word,” Carr said.
Elsewhere, Nisa Local Prudhoe in Northumberland offered free delivery of goods after an elderly lady rang the shop asking for soft drinks.
“Whilst driving to the house, I thought to myself, ‘how many other people are unable to collect their own shopping?’” store owner Miv Chahal said. “I have posted a notice to say that if anyone knows of any elderly people who are struggling to get out, but may need shopping, that we are happy to deliver around the local area.
“As this virus takes hold, let’s look after our elderly neighbours in this time of need.”
Similar steps have been taken by many other Nisa retailers, including in Luton at Molly’s, Dallam Stores in Warrington and in Stalbridge, where Dike & Son is taking orders by internet and telephone, encouraging those not online to “just write a list and ring us up during shop opening hours”.
At Nisa Local in Blidworth, Nottinghamshire, the store took to social media to urge shoppers to “think before you buy”, posting a polite request encouraging customers not to panic buy and reassuring them supplies are still arriving in store.
In Walsall, Nisa Local retailers, the Singh family distributed hand sanitiser in five-litre bottles free of charge to charities, schools, churches, food banks and other community organisations.
“We’re working hard to keep all lines available and so far, we’ve not run out of anything,” the family said in a social media post.
“We have large stock reserves and will do everything we can to serve you, with absolutely no hiked prices.”
Nisa Local Whitehills Supermarket in Northampton have also introduced refill stations for hand sanitiser, antibacterial surface cleaner and similar products to allow shoppers to bring their own containers and fill them with their required solutions.
Nisa sales director Steve Leach said: “These are unprecedented times, and everybody is understandably very concerned about what may happen.
“However, at times of crisis, I never fail to be impressed by how independent Nisa retailers step up to the plate and really go above and beyond for their communities.
“Everyone at Nisa is working hard to support our partners and make sure we get supplies to them so they can carry on providing their customers with everything they need and playing such a vital role to local people.”