The coronavirus pandemic has led to many businesses shutting down and staff being furloughed.
But for some small independent traders, such as Milton-based J W Walters Butchers and Bakers, business has never been busier.
Owner Stuart Brown, together with his sister, Suzanne Hampson, and a few staff, are working flat out to ensure residents in the village don’t go without.
But it’s not just meat they sell as the popular shop is also a bakery and sells homemade bread, pies, sausage rolls, and cakes.
And staff have now started selling fruit and veg so their customers can get everything they need.
They are also delivering food to regulars and offer a collection service where customers phone through their order and visit the shop to collect it.
Stuart, who has worked at the Millrise Road shop virtually all his life, said trade was very quiet after Christmas, but they have been run off their feet since the Coronavirus lockdown.
The 57-year-old said: “Trade has at least tripled since the lockdown. We’ve been very busy.
“Trade was not brilliant and we were just ticking over since Christmas. It was the same for all traders. But the shops that have stayed open are now doing a bomb.
“A lot of our elderly customers won’t come out at all. We are taking a lot of phone orders and I deliver them in the afternoons and at night.
“And we get a lot of customers placing orders over the phone and coming to collect them. We just allow one customer in the shop at a time.
“There have been really long queues outside the shop and the queue has gone down the road and across the road and up Langham Road opposite the shop.
“It never slows down. We can’t have a breather. This last month has been the busiest I have known it. It has been just like Christmas – nearly every day.”
The shop was run by Stuart’s grandad, John William Walters, from 1932 and Stuart has worked there since he was a lad. He now runs it with his sister Suzanne.
Their dad, Joseph Brown , aged 91, who used to run a fruit and veg shop in Bentilee, still pops in to the shop from time to time.
Stuart, who is currently working seven days a week, added : “We have sold a lot of flour and yeast since the lockdown started.
“We make our own bread, cakes, pies, and sausage rolls. And we have now started doing fruit and veg.
“We only started on Friday and, by noon, we did not have any left. We will deliver – but only to regular customers in the village.
“We have had people calling from as far away as Biddulph and all over.
“All our regular customers need to do is pick up the phone and we will gladly deliver it to their door.”
Suzanne, aged 56, added: “Last week, we had to limit people to two large pies as some were coming in and ordering eight or 10 large pies.
“We have sold a lot of pork pies and sausage rolls, and a lot of vanilla slices and burgers.”
JW Walters Butchers and Bakers is the latest to feature in our Shop Local scheme, promoting independent businesses.
It is open 8am to 4pm, Mondays to Fridays, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.
To place an order, call 01782 534627.