Provender Brown Shortlisted for Farm Shop & Deli Award 2021
We have reached the shortlist of the 2021 Farm Shop & Deli Awards and will be representing Scotland at the ceremony this July!
We have reached the shortlist of the 2021 Farm Shop & Deli Awards and will be representing Scotland at the ceremony this July!
We are delighted to tell you that we have reached the shortlist of the 2021 Farm Shop & Deli Awards. Representing Scotland, we were nominated by customers from across Perthshire and the wider UK – with one nomination coming all the way from New Zealand!
This year, the Awards are celebrating specialist retailers from across the UK “in recognition for their courageous commitment shown to their customers, community, staff and suppliers” during lockdown.
The shortlist is now being evaluated by an expert judging panel led by broadcaster and journalist Nigel Barden, to determine the ‘Commended Retailers’ and ‘Best in Region Winners’ across the UK.
Here's Diane's take on it all!
“It really has been a whirlwind of a year. We made the decision quite quickly to stay open in March, and this led to us changing processes almost daily in April.
“By May we had introduced local delivery services and were offering a much wider online selection to help our customers who were shielding. In fact, our nomination from New Zealand was from a lovely lady who contacted us with a request to deliver to her parents.
“Of course, we’re never ones to sit still and when things settled for a little while in August and September, we took the opportunity to rehaul the website and build on our improved digital offering. We launched our new online shop in October, which now sells everything – that is over 2500 items – that we stock in our George Street home.
“By Christmas we were sending 80+ hampers a day and orders were coming in from all over the UK and into Europe. I believe we may now be the largest online deli in Scotland, and I have to say, it’s a real thrill after 15 years in business to find a whole new way of doing things and a lot of lovely new customers – it’s almost like starting again. Extremely exciting!
“It has been an incredibly tough year, but it has also been a year that forced us to rethink how we best serve our customers and that can never be a bad thing. To be shortlisted in these prestigious awards is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole team and I am grateful to everyone who took the time to nominate us.”
The live announcement of the winners will take place at 15.00 on Monday 5th July at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, NEC Birmingham.
I don't mind telling you, I was very emotional reading all of the lovely comments that were sent to the judges by our customers. Thank you all so, so much for your support and kind words.
"My elderly parents were (and still are) shielding at home during the Covid pandemic. They were unable to secure any grocery delivery slots with any of the major supermarket chains and were running out of even basic goods such as flour, milk, butter, eggs etc. I now live in New Zealand and therefore am unable to help and was worried sick about them running out of food or having to venture out and run the risk of catching the infection.
I contacted Diane at Provender Brown and asked if there was any way I could put together an order, pay for it and have it delivered to my parents. Diane and the team could not have been more helpful. They put together an order with a fantastic range of goods, most of which were local (and therefore helping local producers too) and they even popped out to a few other shops for the things they could not directly supply for my parents.
Within 24 hours my parents had the most wonderful delivery of excellent quality fresh produce, meat, store cupboard staple ingredients and some delicious extra treats. The delivery was made with all social distancing measures.
Diane and the staff of Provender Brown have continued to deliver to my parents helping shield them and keep them nourished and healthy throughout this pandemic. I will forever be grateful to Provender Brown for their caring compassion, immense customer service and amazing quality produce. They have made a very worried daughter very happy and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. They should be recognised for their outstanding service!"
"Staff are amazing - every time I have visited they have been so welcoming. Love shopping there amazing produce."
"They sent regular emails telling customers of latest developments. A delivery service was also introduced, free of charge during lockdown to many. Products were always fresh. Staff were always cheerful, chatty and willing to help."
"Interesting articles were written about various foods, wine and monthly cheeses."
"Online ordering for housebound customers. Strict distancing and use of hand gel etc. Communicate via press and web site. They have the nicest, kindest and friendliest staff."
"Provender Brown with owner Diane and her team have provided an excellent service during this period - with emailed regular newsletters to inspire customers to try their produce, treats to cheer those at stuck at home and locally sourced produce marketed to sustain local suppliers. Their ordering for delivery, click and collect and shop management has been fantastic - so clearly managed with easy to understand communications shared regularly highlighting updates and changes in hours and terms. They go out of their way to help with substitute products, no request is too much and the variety offered means customers have plenty of amazing choice."
"The emailed newsletters highlight new local products from specialist jams and curds, to locally grown fruit and veg - but they also explain the days that produce will be available with pre-ordering to avoid disappointment."
"From the start, PB (as we know them) right up to the present : stayed open; adjusted opening hours; maintained their website; enhanced their newsletters; sought new suppliers for scarce items; maintained variety; offered locally sourced items such as artisanal bread, chanterelles, strawberries and cheeses; continued special offers; increased online ordering for local delivery or for collection."
"Practical safety measures were quickly introduced: staff were immediately trained in the new procedures; clear and polite notices appeared; customer numbers were restricted; sanitiser was provided; masks or shields were worn; I have observed that staff hygiene regarding hand washing remained at its previously high standard."
"At a time when many of us lack proper social contact and are restricted to essentials such as shopping, PB has been a wonderful tonic, remarkable for the dedication of its staff, for their cheerfulness, tact and uplifting repartee. The atmosphere is always attentive, engaging, humorous and lively. New staff have been taken on, are mentored, and are obviously carefully chosen for their conscientious and outgoing personalities. Advice and opinion on the products is always given freely and without pushiness. Consequently the shop is a highlight of the weekly calendar! As a model of an enterprise that stimulates customer loyalty, it is exemplary. I commend it to you most cordially."
"Provender Brown helped me survive lockdown by delivering to my door free of charge, those little essentials I needed to make the weekend more special and giving us something to look forward to. Their care and compassionate communication helped to stop us feeling isolated and little treats like some pastries needing eaten popped into our shopping bag was just so thoughtful."
"Provender Brown went the ‘extra mile’ and we will always be grateful for this."
"Throughout lockdown they have implemented Safety measures not just for us the customers but for their staff as well, from clear signage, antibacterial /viral hand sanitiser, allowing only a small number of people in the shop and ensuring staff have masks in place and what looked to be a rigorous handwashing policy. They also began a local delivery service which had been amazing especially for those of us who are shielding. They are even working on a new website that will have all their products on our which is going to be amazing, although maybe not for my bank account!"
"This is great friendly deli who are in the heart of Perth and go beyond so ensure that you know what you are buying and let you taste to before you buy. A great friendly staff who remember you and suggest other items you might like. As a regular visitor cannot imagine what I would do without it."
"They have been amazing and have gone to great lengths to provide food parcels and fresh food for customers during and post lockdown. They sold food from the shop door and delivered it to your home if you couldn't make it into Perth. They have been brilliant sending out regular emails informing you of the products they had managed to source during the very difficult days. They have kept spirits lifted with their chatty and informative monthly newsletters despite working around the clock and feeling very stressed themselves. Provender Brown is a wonderful shop with tremendous staff - they definitely deserve the award."
"PB was a life saver particularly at the lockdown stage when they helped customers like ourselves who were elderly. They began home deliveries to ensure we did not have to run the gauntlet of actual shopping. They were also helpful in providing alternatives when stocks were short."
"Home delivery, safe procedures in store and great communications make this team worthy of an award!"
"The Provender Brown deli put every implements in place to ensure the safety of their staff and their customers. They have always been community minded and none more so during this trying time. The staff deserve recognition for their hard work in keeping their business open for the people in Perth and their efforts in making the deli a safe place to shop."
"They split into 2 working teams to ensure the store could stay open, even if one of the team fell ill. They introduced a local, free delivery service to help anyone who needed it. They cooked meals/made up sandwiches for the NHS ,which they delivered to Perth Royal Infirmary. And they went out of their way to help in any way possible. And they did it with a smile and a can do attitude."
"Their emails kept everyone informed as to services provided, opening hours, new delicacies and it was an open forum to request anything not already covered.They also took phone orders and were so patient answering questions and taking orders."
"They didn't stock some items that i wanted during lockdown, but they went out and bought the items and put them in my order for me."
"Upbeat enthusiastic team sharing recipe ideas and great knowledge of their products."
"They always seem to be the first place to stock new local products. It's always a joy to visit Perth and be assured of something new and genuinely local to try and take home. No doubt this has been of great support to local producers during Covid."
"Started a home delivery service during lock-down and on re opening stuck rigidly to isolation protocols. But were still same friendly staff."
"This is a most fabulous deli selling a full tasty range of high quality fresh and food cupboard items. During lockdown not only did they offer a home delivery service to regular customers but what impressed me most of all was their regular lively newsletter alerting us to new arrivals as well as old faithfuls. It was a great way of keeping customers informed in an entertaining way! Now a new website has been launched to tempt us even further and to make ordering even easier. Well done Provender Brown team!"
"Diane and her team have been a standout deli in Perth for many years. Quality food and drink always adding lines and supporting artisan and where possible local producers. wonderfully friendly and informed staff. From the outset of COVID 19 they adapted quickly and introduced deliveries to your door. I will always be grateful to them for during our lockdown period they took telephone orders and delivered to our door when the general public were confused and shielding they adapted and put themselves out there to keep people supplied with their wonderful produce. Whether they win an award or not they will always be my Champions."
"The shop stayed open throughout, and has offered deliveries and click/collect services without hesitation. Service has felt incredibly safe and controlled. We've also had lots of newsletters keeping us up to date with stocks and supplies. But perhaps most importantly, shopping in PB has given us access to some of life's wee luxuries that have given us a much needed cheer up during these dire circumstances."
"Diane and the team came up with innovative ideas to safely support their customers and community. They stepped up their delivery service and put together essential packs of goods. They have used social media to communicate positively. It is a business with a hardworking ethos and friendly manner, rising to the challenges of the last few months in particular."
"Excellent service and food parcels were available to offer something different and a nice treat to look forward to."
"Diane and her staff have worked tremendously hard during this pandemic. Online ordering. Safe collection of orders or delivery locally free or by post. Restricted numbers in shop once they could reopen. Extremely careful and helpful. A real boost when spirits are low to be able to get some expertly sourced meats and cheeses."
"Great newsletters keeping us informed of what’s new and going on. Home deliveries for those unable to go out during lockdown. Happy smiling faces (even behind masks) when you go into the shop. Best shop in town."
"Emails to keep me updated, hamper deliveries in the local area, great ideas to keep spirits up!"
"Rapid response email ordering and pick up service."
"Fantastically friendly and helpful staff, keeping in touch with customers and making them feel at ease under difficult circumstances."
"This shop saved our lives. In depths of despair at the start of lockdown Provender Brown came to our rescue. Inspired by their regular news letters we could put together a weekly box of goodies to keep our spirits high with prepayment and collection from their door in complete safety. Diane, Martine and all the team have been so knowledgeable and professional. We are so lucky to have such delicious fayre so accessible!"
"Great support and home deliveries during and continuing after the lockdown. Excellent customer service, very knowledgable staff and very willing to order anything that the customer asks for which is not either in stock or stocked at all."
"I have always found the staff in this deli friendly and so knowledgeable about their products. It is foodie heaven. I am in my seventies and during lockdown barely crossed the door. PROVENDER BROWN really stepped up to the plate. They started a delivery service for the vulnerable which I think became so popular that it has now been extended. This was a lifeline during lockdown. I was able to get their wonderful cheese, quiches, sausage rolls, meats, bread etc It made life bearable during the darkest of times."
"Not only friendly and wonderful service, but they go the extra mile and kept us all well served throughout lock down. Quality, choice and value for money. Absolute stars."
"The staff at Provender Brown worked extremely hard to provide a safe and friendly environment for their customers. They introduced online and telephone (for those without the internet) ordering to allow customers to pick up provisions from the shop. A delivery service was also available for the more vulnerable. At the beginning of the lockdown the staff also managed to find items like pasta and flour which had all but disappeared from other shops. They used the wide network of loyal customers to publicise these services as well as the usual social media. The shop window also provided information on the efforts being made. Hand sanitizers limited numbers in the shop at any one time and careful attention to social distancing kept everyone safe and feeling safe. The most important thing to emphasize during all this is that the staff remain cheerful and positive through what is a very difficult time."
"Provender Brown always provide an excellent service and keep customers up to date with regular newsletters and this has proved invaluable since the start of the pandemic. They have provided a delivery service throughout this time which has been a great help to us. The order can be made by email or phone and the service has been fantastic. Emails are always acknowledged and we have been contacted straight away if any points need clarification and the staff have been so helpful. Its great to see a local firm supporting their local community which has been especially beneficial for those of us in the vulnerable age group. They definitely deserve recognition for the service they have given."
"I cannot recommend too highly Provender Brown of Perth. Their service is always brilliant but during the Covid it was exceptional. Orders could be telephoned in or emailed and the orders were ready for collection when required. There was also a home delivery for those who were unable to leave home."
"The staff all went the extra mile, making sure the elderly and housebound got their orders with a free delivery service. They remained cheerful and helpful throughout the lockdown and continued to be well stocked."
"This business has gone way over and above what one might expect to support customers. As older customers, sheltering, they have delivered and continue to deliver to us although we live outwith their normal area. During lockdown our deliveries often comprised items not normally held in stock. Staff members were even willing to shop elsewhere in the town for us. Nothing was/is too much trouble. The staff create happiness - there are always smiles, laughter and banter. A shop in a million!"
"The whole staff made it very easy for the customer to access their brilliant produce. The amount of work behind the scenes must have been immense but nothing was ever too much trouble. When collecting from the shop, a new innovation, you felt a gratitude and also safe. Overall a very positive experience in these sad times."
"I've been a supplier to Provender Brown since they opened 15 years ago. Time has flown by and it is great to think back to those early days when Diane and her team were striving to build the business. The passion and energy they had back in those early days has not been lost, it is a privilege to work with them.
"There is always something new to try or a new way to present it. I've been involved in tastings, dinners, outside events, and helping with web site content. I'm frequently asked 'do you have this / can you get this?' Fueled not only from customer requests but from what Diane has read or heard about or tasted elsewhere.
"Customers are treated as friends, always a smile and a greeting, in the shop you feel at ease and made welcome. A basic which is so frequently lost in many retail outlets. This year has been exceptionally difficult for everyone, the challenges of working within the restrictions have been immense. Some of the initiatives Provender Brown actioned are as follows and combined with the consistent high levels of service are the reasons I am nominating them.
"Diane and the team started a free local delivery service and engaged with their customer base on-line and by telephone. They took staff safety as a priority and split into work bubbles just incase anyone developed symptoms they would safely be able to continue trading. The local deliveries were exceptionally popular and greatly received at a time when supermarket delivery slots were measured in weeks especially by the older and more vulnerable residents of Perth.
"Regular updates on services offered and goods available via Instagram / facebook and website and almost an adventure into Zoom whisky tasting. You never know what is coming next and always look forward to it. A highly worthy nominee."