Benyfit Natural’s raw dog food stockists are our high street link to you. Over 140 pet shops and raw dog food suppliers across the UK keep your woofs supplied with tasty raw dog food meals, treat and bones.
Retailers have been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown so we thought we’d catch up with one of our raw food stockists to see what affect Covid-19 has had on their shop life.
Andrea and Dave Fletcher from 'Embark on Raw' Natural Pet Food Store in Billericay, Essex, gave us a few minutes of their time between sorting out customer orders to answer a few questions.
Embark on Raw Dog Food Stockists Q&A With Andrea and Dave
Andrea (left), Daughter Darcy (middle) and Dave Fletcher (right) outside of the Embark on Raw Natural Pet Food Store
Have you managed to keep your raw fed natural dog food supply chain working through lockdown?
Yes we have. We constantly monitored the developing situation and made some good decisions beforehand to increase our stock holdings. We expected a sudden fall in stock availability, particularly with raw dog food, and as the lockdown continued we knew we couldn’t expect deliveries to happen as before. We could only access some products once a week, so we made sure that we had all that we needed for our customers. That way, we could reassure them that we could supply them as normally as possible.
Did you notice customers panic buying dog food along with toilet rolls and pasta?
We did at first. When the first lockdown message was broadcast on the evening of Monday 23rd March, advising that only essential services should stay open, we received over 130 messages. It took us until 2:50am to reply to them all.
Have you kept your shop open or have you moved to online only?
We have managed to keep our shop open full time, but not in the same way as before. Initially we moved to letting four customers in the shop, then three. Then we decided that the best way was to serve from a barrier at the door and encourage our customers to pre-order and collect or arrange a delivery.
Have you made any other changes to how your business has operated during this time? E.g. home delivery service/any other special measures
We have always offered home delivery, but this went from approximately 20 drops per day to around 42 drops per day. We have the best staff and we all agreed that we needed to increase delivery days and hours to keep our customers safe and keep them at home, especially those who fall into the vulnerable category.
We also offered some late night opening for those who were still able to go to work and this was really well received. We are currently working on a click and collect service too, so our customers can just log on at any time and order.
Do you have any advice for dog owners during lockdown?
We have 2 pieces of advice:
- 1/ Most raw dog food stockists will have plenty of food, so chat to them to see how you can secure your usual food for your dog. Wherever you can, shop local. Local small businesses really need your support and they are so grateful for your custom. We adore and value our customers and because we have great community support, it was our time to say thank you, don’t worry and we will do whatever is needed to make sure your beloved dog or cat has their favourite food.
- 2 / Use food types such as Marrow Bones to keep your dog entertained whilst in lockdown, feed their food in a Kong or play hunt the treat. These are all great ways to enrich your dog’s mind whilst at home. Look out for online support too. Lots of great local trainers are offering free online videos on different ideas for entertainment.
Andrea and Dave make sure they make time to fuss over their customers pets
Has coronavirus made you think any differently about how you run your business? Perhaps something that you will take into the future (even after the pandemic ends)?
Our business literally turned upside down overnight - the way that we run and how we like to serve our customers. Our shop pre-coronavirus was always filled with customers and laughter and dogs! Now we only have staff inside the shop and we serve our customers from a barrier at the door. This means that only staff touch the treats/food/bags etc. We really miss having lots of dogs visiting us!
We have a timer that is set for every 30 minutes to antibac or wash our hands and disinfect the freezer handles and doors. We antibac our card machine after every single use. We really do take it very seriously. We supply PPE to our staff, should they want to wear it, and we do our very best to keep everyone safe.
I think that shopping as we knew it may change as we still need to continue to social distance after lockdown. We have had till screens made which we will install and use, once we can start welcoming customers back inside our shop.
Have you seen any positives come out of the crisis?
We are very lucky in that we have great support from our community and customers. So many raw feeding customers are always saying thank you; thank you for staying open, thank you for what you’re doing. We have had cakes baked for us, sweets and chocolates delivered, even little thank you notes left out on our delivery boxes.
It has been wonderful but really, at the core, it is us that should be thankful that we have been supported and allowed to continue to do what we love. Yes, it has been hard work and yes, we have had tears at times, just purely from exhaustion, but we would do it all again in a heartbeat!
We think the essence of a great business under pressure is the staff and ours have truly been dedicated and on the same page.
We love that the Turkey is free range as standard and we are able to use this range enormously for dogs with allergies and intolerances.
Dave Fletcher takes a break from his busy schedule for a quick photo opportunity
Thank you so much to Embark on Raw for finding the time out of their very hectic day. We’re sure we speak on behalf of all customers when we say a huge thank you for all that are doing to keep the dogs of South Essex well fed, happy hounds.
If you live in the area then you should pop in with your woof and say 'hello', check out their website. for their current opening times and availability on their natural raw dog food ranges.
Embark On Raw - The Natural Pet Food Store
Unit 7F Whitesbridge Farm Industrial Estate
Call or text on 07816 783908 or 07791 570432
If you don’t live near Embark on Raw, never fear, there will be a Benyfit Natural raw dog food supplier near you.
Take a look at our Raw Dog Food Stockists Locator to find the nearest raw dog food supplier in your area.