Friends’ fruit delivery business expanding after influx of demand

One of the typical boxes, ready to be sent out Picture: JACK SHAW

One of the typical boxes, ready to be sent out Picture: JACK SHAW - Credit: Archant

A fruit and vegetable delivery box business run by two friends is set to expand, following an influx of demand in the past month.

Jack and Toms Isolation Essentials is a new business selling boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables which can be ordered online and delivered to homes.

“It started four weeks ago,” said founder Jack Shaw from Colchester.

“Originally it was an idea of my friend Tommy Jacobs. We were going to do it for friends and family.”

The friends started by making 54 deliveries to those they knew but soon found that demand was greater than they had realised.

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“We did not have a clue what we were doing,” said Mr Shaw.

“It’s gone a little bit crazy.”

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As demand grew, so too did the business; the deliveries moved to cover all CO postcodes and from this week Jack and Toms Isolation Essentials will be delivering to selected IP postcodes.

All the fruit and vegetables are purchased from Spittlefields Market in London and driven back up to Essex to be packed, ready to be shipped out to customers the same day.

A typical box can contain around 16 different types or fruit of vegetables, with each box priced up to be the equivalent of a major supermarket.

The company are also starting to sell meat boxes with produce from Smithfields Market and are looking for help to expand this area.

So far the team have managed over 1000 deliveries to people across the county.

The business is a far cry from Mr Shaw’s day job as a web designer.

“I am self employed,” said Mr Shaw.

“All of my clients are small independent businesses like plumbers and landscapers.

“There just is not any work. I’ve gone from 40-50 hours a week to four or five.”

As their new business has gotten bigger Mr Shaw and Mr Jacobs have been able to bring more people on board to help them coordinate their venture and expand; many of these people too are also self-employed.

Despite moving into a vastly different area of work Mr Shaw said that helping others through the pandemic has been important.

“It gave us something to do,” said Mr Shaw.

“It feels so worthwhile that we are doing something.”

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