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‘There’s no need to panic buy’ - owner of produce business struggling with demand

PUBLISHED: 16:52 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:10 24 March 2020

Lee Martin, owner of Norfolk in a Box. Picture: Lee Martin

Lee Martin, owner of Norfolk in a Box. Picture: Lee Martin

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The owner of a Norfolk produce business has said there is no need to panic buy after his business deals with a surge in local demand.

Lee Martin, owner of Norfolk in a Box, has said his business has been met with a substantial increase in the number of food boxes being ordered.

The business, based in Wereham, supplies produce to restaurants, hotels and coffee shops.

But since government closures of these eateries, the owner has said the business has been “turned on its head” and is now having to enlist the help of three head chefs from the restaurants they deliver to, to deal with local demand.

Mr Martin said: “Our business has gone from around 12 to 14 boxes a day to over a thousand to deliver this week. It’s gone mad.

“I am struggling with demand and we’ve had to hire two extra vans for the next four days.

“Six of us are out every day delivering.

“We have a fleet of ten vehicles and that fleet is not big enough”.

The small family business, which has been running for around 14 years, covers the North Norfolk coast, Wisbech, Sutton Bridge, Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Diss and Lowestoft.

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Mr Martin has urged people not to stockpile, saying it was “completely unnecessary”.

He added: “In terms of produce, people are wanting everything. People are loving our Norfolk veg boxes, they’re just flying out the door.

“A lot of people are bulk buying potatoes and I don’t understand that.

“I have one lady who’s a regular and who usually gets a bag, but she came in the other day wanting two and you ask ‘why?’, and she said ‘just in case,’ but they’re going to go off.

“There’s no need to panic buy”.

The 45-year-old admitted some people are “cashing in” on the crisis and prices have increased on some of the products he buys.

He said: “I’m not pleased at all. Carrots were costing me a third of the price before.

“I have to sell more to end up with the same pot of gold to make up for what I’m buying”.

But the produce firm boss said he has gained 80pc more customers and is happy more people are becoming aware of shopping locally.

He said: “To me it’s all about promoting Norfolk.”

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