When the pandemic struck last year the owners of Bonners fruit and veg stall in the Covered Market knew they would have to adapt to survive.

Gordon Piggott and his wife Verity created an online shop and orders started to flood in for deliveries from across Oxfordshire.

With a flat rate delivery charge for all locations it proved an attractive option for people at home during lockdowns and soon Bonners staff were using their vans to deliver goods from other stalls in the market, together with their fruit and veg.

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“It’s been a lifesaver for us and for families across Oxfordshire - it’s kept us going and without it we could have lost everything," said Mr Piggott.

The Covered Market

The Covered Market

Bonners has stayed open throughout the coronavirus crisis and Mr Piggott said staff were now looking forward to non-essential shops in the historic market reopening from Monday.

He added: “We’re feeling positive - we are looking forward to pubs and restaurants reopening because that will be a boost for our wholesale business.

“There aren’t many tourists about in Oxford at the moment because of travel restrictions but hopefully people will come here if they are having a staycation - it’s a good opportunity this year for people to discover parts of the country they haven’t been to before.”

Mr Piggott said between 20 and 30 deliveries a day are now being made.

He added: “It’s been a very difficult year with lots of hurdles to jump over.

Verity Piggott in 2020

Verity Piggott in 2020

“The whole team of traders in the market has had to adapt and work together - independent businesses have been supporting each other.

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“I’m hoping things are going to get easier from now on - whatever happens it will be a breeze compared to the past 12 months.”

Bonners have been working with other food stalls in the market including Pershore Seafoods, Fellers Butchers, The Oxford Cheese Company, The Natural Bread Company and Missing Bean.

Verity Piggott of Bonners puts deliveries in a van

Verity Piggott of Bonners puts deliveries in a van

In January Bonners and the Oxford Sandwich Company linked up with the Oxford Hospital Charity to deliver fruit and vegetable baskets, as well as wellbeing boxes for nurses.

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Ms Piggott said that they ‘wanted to help’ as soon as the charity contacted them and the boxes were delivered to staff working on critical care wards.

For more visit bonnersoxford.co.uk.