In a year that was marred by uncertainty for traditional bricks and mortar retailers, city centre delicatessen, Provender Brown, expanded their offer and set in motion a strategy for growth that saw them secure a Beyond Scotland grant and an Open for Business funding award, both administered by PKC.
Diane Brown, who has operated from her George Street premises since 2005, made the decision in the early days of lockdown to remain open, introducing a number of new services including an improved click and collect service, a local delivery service to those shielding and an increased number of items on the website.
Diane explains, “Up until lockdown, our online focus was mainly on spirits, wines and fancy goods. We had been looking to improve this for a while but with food retail at the heart of serving the local community during the pandemic, we knew we had to move quickly and be better.”
Such was the response by customers old and new, that a complete rebuild of the website was launched in October 2020. Integrating with their stock system, the result is 3000+ items available to ship nationally.
“Research suggests that we are now the largest independent online deli in Scotland and in the top three in the UK. Our search engine rankings have grown significantly and sales to the wider UK are higher than we’ve ever experienced. In fact, we tripled our hamper numbers over Christmas 2020 and I expect that will grow again this year.
“The Beyond Scotland grant has helped us to improve that reach even further by allowing us to create individual landing pages and spend on driving traffic.”
In addition to this, Diane also accessed the Open for Business Fund, a PKC initiative that aims to encourage small businesses to ensure that the frontages of their premises are updated, welcoming and designed to attract an increase in consumer spend. With 50% of the upgrade cost awarded, Provender Brown is undergoing a full refurbishment to their decades-old façade.
“We now stock over 150 locally produced items from Perth and Kinross-based producers and I’m pleased to report that we are collectively benefitting from the increase in sales.
“Feedback shows that our customer base, whether Scottish, British or European, appreciates and understands that Perthshire produce is synonymous with quality, authenticity, and agricultural heritage and both pots of funding have helped to ensure that we continue to represent our suppliers in line with these principles.”