Farm shop expands after huge lockdown sales boom
- Credit: Annette Pride
A family-run Norfolk farm shop is expanding after a huge surge in lockdown demand drove its daily takings up to 10 times higher than last year.
The Tacons, at Rollesby, near Great Yarmouth, has been selling seasonal, locally-sourced fruit and vegetables from the farm gate for more than 40 years.
But, like many other Norfolk farm retailers, its takings have rocketed during both coronavirus lockdowns, prompting the launch of a delivery scheme and bringing more customers to the shop - with more suggestions on what it should be selling.
As a result, a former store shed has been converted and added to the retail space which now sells an expanded range of store cupboard staples and refills including flour and baking products, tinned beans and dried fruit, as well as fresh cakes every morning.
Emma Tacon, who runs the shop, said: "The impact of Covid-19 has meant that new customers had the time to discover our shop.
"I love it when people come in with their ideas. We are expanding the retail space, with more product lines.
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"We always had locally-sourced meat, fruit, vegetables, milk and eggs, but now we have everything around that. Last year people might come in for their eggs, but now they come for a whole basket of food.
"Last Wednesday we seemed really busy so I checked and we were 10 times busier than the same day last year. It is not the same every day, but we are regularly four or five times what we were last year.
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"I don't expect to keep all those customers - some will go back to work and will be passing other shops. But if we can keep a proportion of them by continuing to listen to our customers and giving them what they want, then we are very hopeful our business will continue to grow."
Originally, the Tacons' farm focused on growing potatoes, onions and soft fruit, but this has expanded over the years to include a range of field vegetables including courgettes, sprouts, kalettes and sweetcorn, supplying retailers and wholesalers across Norfolk. It also runs a pick-your-own venture growing strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, onions and pumpkins.