A Dubbo wholesale food business has ramped up its services for retail customers to provide a safe way to shop for essentials during the region's COVID crisis.
Throughout the outbreak, with more than 600 cases recorded within Dubbo Regional Council by 8pm on Sunday, Midwest Foods & Liquor has been packing online orders and making same-day and contactless home deliveries to local households.
As major supermarkets at Dubbo were swamped with demand and their capacity put under pressure by the outbreak in mid-August, the locally-owned wholesaler swung into action.
Along the way it has kept all its workers employed, added more local items to its range of more than 4500 products, and has supported essential service providers and care package providers, Midwest Foods marketing and retail manager Jo Suckling reports.
The home delivery service, started during last year's lockdown, was key once more to providing for retail customers.
Ms Suckling said there had been "a great uptake" of the service across Dubbo and surrounds.
The business had also been able to extend its services to towns including Geurie, Wongarbon, Wellington, Gilgandra, Brocklehurst, Narromine, and Eumungerie.
"We wanted to take this opportunity to get behind our community and provide them with an alternative option for their grocery needs," Ms Suckling said.
"It was important we could provide them with a seamless, easy-to-use process for their deliveries."
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The business's approach has found success.
"Our customers have been extremely appreciative that we are offering a safe, contactless option for their grocery purchases," Ms Suckling said.
"The positive feedback we are receiving from the community has been wonderful.
It really shows people are wanting to support local businesses like ours.Midwest Foods marketing and retail manager Jo Suckling
"It really shows people are wanting to support local businesses like ours.
Ms Suckling said the business had had to make some hard decisions with some changes to usual operations to be able to maintain services with limited resources, "which also helps to mitigate our risk around business continuity in the event of COVID exposure".
We applaud those healthcare workers for the amazing work they are doing.Jo Suckling
"The good news is all our staff remained employed which is vital for us once the economy reopens and life gets back to normal," she said.
"We'd like to thank our awesome customers for their understanding and support through this temporary period of change.
"Like many businesses, we've also had staff on leave as they awaited test results after visiting venues of concern.
"The improvement in turnaround times has resulted in a significant difference here.
"We applaud those healthcare workers for the amazing work they are doing."
Ms Suckling also reports that as a wholesale foodservice business, Midwest Foods has been able to support services providing to the general community, including donating food supplies to hospital staff, and the Australian Defence Force, and most recently, assisting the Foodbank, which is delivering care packages to those in need, with logistics and storage options.
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