Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, one much-loved Cork deli has expanded the business, setting up an online platform and adding to their product range.
Family-owned, Basil Food Market & Deli in Ballintemple swung into action March as Covid-19 hit by launching an online platform.
Basil.ie was launched within one week of lockdown and, much to the amazement of husband and wife duo Gareth and Carole Kendellen, the platform took off at home and abroad.
"What took us by surprise during lockdown was when concerned family members from around the world such as Singapore, Dubai, Australia, Japan, the UK and Wales started ringing us or ordering online to deliver our home-made meals, boxes of sweet treats or hampers to their parents, aunts, uncles and family friends which we were able to deliver the same day," Carole said.
"It was important for us during the Covid-lockdown to provide our customers with a take-away and delivery service. "Many are living alone, some are elderly, and they have been loyal to us since we first opened in 2018," she added.
"We got a real insight into people’s lives over the last few months, especially with older people on the phone as they wanted to stay on the line and chat.
"You got the sense many were so lonely, anxious and scared, it was a privilege to help them in any way we could," she added.
During the lockdown, they also experienced a surge in the demand for their gifts, care packs and hampers and now Basil will be expanding their range of gifts and products.
They also plan on bottling their caesar salad dressing, chutneys and famous relish for the retail market in the next few months
With the help of the Cork City Local Enterprise Office, they are also upgrading their online platform and website.
"The support and guidance from LEO Cork City from the very beginning but especially in the past six months has been critical to the successful pivoting of our model.
"Practical help, encouragement, aid as well as access to experts has given us the confidence to explore new product lines and continue to build on our success," Carole said.