As we fast approach our eighth month of covid measures, businesses across the North are still adjusting and reacting to ever-changing covid restrictions.
A Salford staple, the Deli Lama Wholefood Shop & Cafe has been serving vegan produce and goods to the community for eight years.
Now, having gone through a re-branding and re-opening during Covid, we spoke to them about how they’ve coped with 2020:
A bit of shelter for the inclement weather ☔🙄
How did you personally find lockdown – and how was it from a business perspective?
Initially, we were in shock to be honest and then resigned ourselves to what will be will be. There was no use fighting what was happening.
Tell us about reopening and any changes you’ve had to make
After observing what was happening to businesses like ours, we had to seriously consider how the business we’d built over the past 8 years might be able to survive the uncertainty of the next few.
On that note, we felt we needed to redefine the business as a Wholefood Shop & Cafe to protect us from future lockdowns. Food and drink will be to take away although some seating will be available outside (dependant on weather). We want to support customers who are working towards a zero-waste approach to their shopping experience. Our packaging will also be eco friendly or re-usable including containers, glass bottles, jars and bags. Other products on offer will be organic wholefoods, eco-household products and local green grocery produce.
What has the response of customers been so far?
Our customer base is very supportive of the changes we’re implementing and are looking forward to supporting us in the future. We’re aware that many, including ourselves, are becoming even more conscious of what we eat and how we can reduce waste.
Do you feel the government has done enough to help businesses?
We feel the government has done probably more than we expected, however it certainly is not enough. Our landlord is dependant on our paying the rent for their income to the extent that we have now had to go into debt to pay the bills. On the positive side, we have been able take advantage of the furlough scheme for our valued employee, Sarah.
What are the challenges facing cafes and restaurants over the next few months?
If we were to have re-opened as we were, then we would have been vulnerable to being closed again with future local lockdowns. Also, due to the size of our venue we’d have struggled to safely seat enough diners or music lovers at our popular jazz nights to meet our overheads. The business grants may sound generous initially but they certainly weren’t going to match the revenue lost through closure. This situation has left everyone in the hospitality and entertainment industries (often running hand to mouth anyway) seriously in trouble financially and the next few months won’t be the real test, it’ll be what happens in the medium to long term.
Been missing the jazz, well the guys have turned up for a spot of busking so come down and enjoy. Hot drinks and sandwiches on til 5pm👌
Do you have any specific plans for the future?
Just to get back up and running and continue to try to future proof our livelihoods! Not to forget though we are part of a wider community of customers, creatives and other local businesses going through this difficult period too and it’s important that we try to support each other going forward. We have worked with @wonderhaus_uk and @m3inds to create our new branding and signage. It’s been a pleasure to work with both and to realise a mutual benefit through partnering locally and keeping the pound going round in Salford!
Having adapted our cafe area to a grocery store, we continue to support other local independent businesses by stocking and promoting their products. We offer groceries including fresh bread, pulses, nuts, herbs & spices, organic rice, oats and flour as well as vegan cheeses, alternative milks and so on. We also have a FillRefill soap station and offer a brunch menu through til 3pm and soup of the day. Like many people we are acutely concerned about the environment and want to help support reduction in use of single use plastics and landfill waste and our aim is to encourage waste free, low carbon impact shopping on a local basis.