Food deliveries hit by snow - but small stores step in

Lewis Fratel, manager of Orwell Stores in Chelmondiston, with a bag of heat logs. Deliveries of fuel have been in demand...

Lewis Fratel, manager of Orwell Stores in Chelmondiston, with a bag of heat logs. Deliveries of fuel have been in demand during the cold snap - Credit: Lewis Fratel/Orwell Stores

Grocery deliveries have become a way of life during the pandemic - but some orders have been cancelled during the last couple of days due to the icy conditions created by Storm Darcy.

However, smaller shops  have been stepping in to serve Suffolk and Essex communities and ensure people don't go without vital supplies such as fuel and food.

Some supermarket delivery drivers have also managed to get through despite the big freeze.

Jordan Newell, of Colchester, tweeted thanks to a Tesco delivery driver who "walked two very heavy crates of shopping" to his front door after his van got stuck in the snow.

Lewis Fratel, manager of Orwell Stores in Chelmondiston near Ipswich, said the shop had stayed open despite the weather and was carrying out deliveries locally.

"We have had quite a few deliveries. A lot of it has been people wanting heat logs and fuel for wood burners," he said.

Mr Fratel said customers often specifically wanted to support a smaller local shop rather than going to the big supermarkets. He said there had been one or two problems with getting deliveries through. "I had to drive up to the wholesaler to get some extra supplies."

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At Orford General Store,  manager Sue Cox said: "We have been coping better than I thought we were going to do. We are short-staffed because of the snow and people getting in, but we have managed to do quite a few local deliveries, which has been quite challenging."

Mrs Cox said the shop was offering a partial home delivery service for customers who were elderly or shielding, but only if goods could be easily delivered in Orford, on foot, as this was currently safer than driving a vehicle.

Orford General Store manager Sue Cox and owner Sue Snowdon, in a photo taken before the Covid-19 pandemic

Orford General Store manager Sue Cox and owner Sue Snowdon, in a photo taken before the Covid-19 pandemic - Credit: Sue Cox

She said some people had ordered from the village shop after their supermarket deliveries couldn't get through. 

The Orford shop has had its own delivery problems, with no milk or bread delivered today due to the weather, but Mrs Cox said they had a small amount of frozen bread, and other suppliers had managed to get through. "Rackhams of Wickham Market have been brilliant and brought over a load of logs, kindling and coal, so we can keep supplying fuel."

Along with the other large supermarkets, Sainsbury's has had to cancel some deliveries in snow-bound Suffolk and north Essex this week. A spokesman said: “Due to adverse weather conditions, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some orders, and we’re apologising to customers for the inconvenience this may cause.

"Our teams continue to work tirelessly to serve our customers and we monitor local weather conditions in order to keep colleagues safe and customers updated.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We are very sorry that a small number of deliveries were cancelled yesterday due to the snowy weather. Wherever possible we have rescheduled deliveries, particularly for vulnerable customers who have registered for priority access to online slots and who cannot shop in store.”

Morrisons also commented on the deliveries, with a spokesman saying: ""Bad weather is affecting some of our deliveries and we would like to apologise to any customer who has been impacted. We are doing everything we can to get our delivery service back to normal.

"In addition, our doorstep delivery service is available for our elderly and vulnerable customers who are self-isolating. Customers can place an order over the phone and have it delivered free of charge the next day."

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