A bakery boss is appealing to people to continue supporting village and corner shops which have provided a lifeline for families during the coronavirus crisis.
According to Village Bakery managing director Robin Jones, local stores have “saved our bacon” after the lockdown restrictions were imposed and supermarket delivery slots were impossible to come by.
As well as supplying major supermarkets across the UK, the Wrexham-based family firm supplies a network of independent retailers across North Wales and the borders.
Among them is the community shop in Llanarmon-yn-Iȃl which is staffed mainly by volunteers.
The admiration is a two-way street for Elaine Jones, one of the shop’s two part-time managers, who sent a touching thank you card to the Village Bakery.
She wrote: “I just write to thank you all for keeping us going not just now in these difficult times but all year round – without you our shop would not be the success that it is.
“Your products and your customer service are fantastic – I’m constantly ringing you for extras.”
The shop and the Village Bakery also have a royal connection.
Coincidentally, both received a visit from the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on the same day five years ago.
Elaine added: “Shops like ours have played a massive role during the pandemic because we’ve kept the nation fed and, in our case,, we’ve kept the local community fed.
“We’re very appreciative of what the Village Bakery have done because without them we would have really struggled.
“We had to ring up them twice in one week to tell them bring us triple the amount of bread.
“The delivery drivers have kept us going and we’ve kept everybody else fed. It’s been a great team.
“We were also helped by the milk man who brings the milk and the eggs and the local butcher who supplies our meat.
“It’s a great village and the whole community has pulled together and we have some real characters who help us.”
Robin Jones joined van sales manager Trish Mason on the latest delivery run to the Llanarmon store so that he could tell Elaine and the volunteers how much he appreciated the role they had played since the pandemic struck.
It was a sentiment echoed by Trish who said: “The community shop have been very positive right the way through Covid and they’ve appreciated us keeping them going with pies and bread.
“We were deeply touched to receive the thank you card from Elaine – it meant a great deal to the whole team at the Village Bakery.”
Robin said: “We’re coming through Covid-19 and we’ve all had to change and adapt.
“One thing that we should never forget is how all the local shopkeepers stepped up to the plate.
“They were there for us when we needed milk, when we needed bread and so on at a time when you could not get a supermarket delivery slot for love nor money.
“These little stores like the community shop Llanarmon, their staff and the volunteers, made all the difference in helping us to get through this crisis.
“If, God forbid, there is a second wave they will be there for us again.
“They’re going to be better prepared than ever and ultimately they are selling local produce, local foods and supporting their local economy, which is so important.
“Our local shops are national treasures that we should continue to support and cherish.
“As we have discovered during recent times, they are there for us in good times and bad and we should never forget that.”