Words by Keat Moore / Pics by Keat Moore and Ed King
Walter Smith Fine Foods has always been a familiar sight on Erdington High Street and has been serving generations of families from the community for the last 80 years.
It’s also one of the few butcher shops in the area to remain open during the COVID-19 lockdown, continuing its commitment to its customers by offering a free delivery service and a 25% discount for all NHS staff.
Erdington Local caught up with Mark Healy, the store manager, to find out more about the butcher’s life during the lockdown.
“The first week was chaos,” says Mark, “we had loads of panic buying and fighting, we had to put limits in place, in the end, to stop customers trying to buy 50lbs of mince!”
Things have, thankfully, calmed down since then. But Mark says they’re still busy and they’ve even seen a 40% increase in sales, “we’ve actually won a lot of friends in this climate and we’re serving customers we’ve never seen before.”
The uptick has primarily come from the delivery service that Walter Smith have been offering since the lockdown began; customers can call the shop, place an order, pay over the phone, and have fresh produce delivered to their door the following Friday.
“It’s been really popular” Mark explains, “I think it took off really well due to the 2-3 week wait for online orders through the big supermarkets,” which has been a real issue for many vulnerable people across Erdington, as well as staff feeding residents of local care homes.
Walter Smith is also offering a 25% discount to all NHS staff, as a way of showing support and appreciation for the work they’re doing in the fight against COVID-19 – a gesture which has been especially popular in Erdington, as many of the Walter Smith regular customers are NHS workers.
Walter Smith Fine Foods is currently open Monday – Saturday, 8.30 am until 4.30 pm. For more information, visit www.waltersmith.co.uk or call 0121 373 0457
To find Walter Smith Fne Foods on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/waltersmithff