Food for wild birds the most in demand non-essential item

ALDERNEY proved itself to be an island of wildlife lovers on the first day of stage two of the exit lockdown, because bird feed was one of the main items on shopping lists.

Glad to be back behind the counter at Blanchard's hardware store and DIY centre are from the left, Margo Jakubowska Konrad Olbrycht, and Alistair McDonall with customer Terry Noon. (Picture by David Nash)
Glad to be back behind the counter at Blanchard's hardware store and DIY centre are from the left, Margo Jakubowska Konrad Olbrycht, and Alistair McDonall with customer Terry Noon. (Picture by David Nash)

Non-essential retail, cafes, restaurants and pubs were all allowed to open as it took the leap yesterday into the latest phase.

At Blanchard’s store, director Sharon Donaldson was delighted to have all her staff back on site and be able to open the doors to customers again.

‘The main thing, believe it or not, which we also did on our home delivery service, was bird food.

‘Particularly a lot of our elderly generation feed the birds in their garden, and of course they sit and watch the birds in their garden, and they’d all run out of bird food.

‘So when we were only allowed to sell essential goods, they were all really panicky that their birds were going to end up dying because they had no bird food.

‘Later the majority of our home deliveries that we carried out to our retail customers involved bird food of some form.

‘There was a really cold snap while we couldn’t actually deliver to them and they were all very panicky about the poor little birds in their gardens.

‘It was the one time of year that they needed some food and at that time we weren’t allowed to provide it, so everybody is glad that they can get back out in their gardens and feed the birds.

‘We’ve ordered another load of bird seed because we’re running out, there’s been such a run on it.’

Compost was another item high up on the shopping list, with customers eager to get their gardens in order.

Lots of businesses in Alderney took advantage of the new opportunities in stage two to reopen.

The northern isle, along with Sark, is blazing a trail for Guernsey and offering a glimpse of what life could be like next week.

At Blanchard’s they have been able to operate throughout the lockdown on a scaled back basis because they sell some essential items such as bottled gas, solid fuel and motor fuels.

But yesterday marked the first day since lockdown that all the staff were allowed back on the premises.

‘It’s great to get all the staff back on site because over the last few weeks with the restrictions on staff numbers we’ve had to work out a rota system because we’ve only been allowed a few staff in at a time.

‘And obviously we can let our customers back through the doors, which means we don’t have to do the home delivery service any more. It has been very difficult to keep up with everything, but at least we were getting some money into the business.

‘I think because of lockdown last year we know what to do this time round. I think last year was a little bit more daunting because nobody had done it before, but this time round we were prepped ready.’

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