STANLEY and Malcolm Johnstone have managed Express Bakery, which was started by their father in 1971, for the last 30 years. They are a wholesale bakery in Dumfries and Galloway. They could not have predicted the pressures COVID-19 would bring.
“We are still baking every day, seven days a week,” says Stanley, four weeks into the lockdown.
“It has not been easy with lots of our usual customers closed but we felt we had to stay open to supply the NHS, who we have supplied for over 20 years along with our lifeline retailers: Tesco, Co-op, Spar, numerous fantastic local retailers and the local council who are doing food boxes for vulnerable groups in the community.
“This week, we are supplying over 3,000 loaves and 3,000 packets of rolls to the council for the children who normally get free meals and the vulnerable members of our community.
“The council are doing great work in the community keeping these groups fed. We are also donating bread to a local organisation distributing food in Lochside and Lincluden in Dumfries, providing meals for the housebound and elderly.
“A lot of the local shops we supply are very busy as people avoid the big supermarkets. Hopefully that may continue after lockdown. To some of the outlying communities, we are really a lifeline service – delivering fresh rolls and bread every day.
“We have been working with one of our suppliers, Ireks, who have donated ingredients to make bread to be distributed free to essential workers. This has been well received by the NHS staff, the staff at the Brown Brothers frozen distribution hub next to the bakery and lots of other people still working.
“I think it’s important to try and keep things as normal as possible for people. I think if they know the local bakers are still working and they still get their rolls and tattie scones it keeps the sense of some normality.
“We have had lots of new likes on our Facebook page and I think people appreciate what we are doing. None of this would happen without the great team we have in the business who are putting in great work in difficult circumstances. They are a real credit to the bakery industry.”
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