Here is the news – busi­ness is boom­ing for home de­liv­ery firm

The Wokingham Paper - - NEWS - By PHIL CREIGHTON news@wok­ing­ham­pa­per.co.uk

THE coro­n­avirus has seen a Wood­ley­based busi­ness have ex­tra, ex­tra busi­ness – now you can read all about it.

Ev­ery morn­ing, a team from Brightons News col­lect, sort and de­liver news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines to hun­dreds of homes and busi­nesses across the Thames Val­ley. On a weekly ba­sis, more than 50,000 news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines drop through let­ter­boxes.

The pick up the lat­est copies from a whole­saler near the Made­jski Sta­dium at 3.30am, with the first de­liv­er­ies com­ing through let­ter­boxes shortly after.

At the be­gin­ning of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, two things hap­pened: cor­po­rate clients closed their doors and stopped their news­pa­per or­der, while na­tional news­pa­pers of­fered 12 weeks of free home de­liv­ery.

Owner Rob Brighton said: “All of­fices closed – cor­po­rate cus­tomers had news­pa­pers de­liv­ered for their re­cep­tions and ho­tel cus­tomers had their copies. That all dis­ap­peared overnight.

“The na­tional news­pa­pers of­fered de­liv­er­ies for those self-iso­lat­ing. We saw a big up­take in the num­ber of peo­ple not go­ing out, but want­ing a news­pa­per.

“One side of the busi­ness can­celled out the other.”

And he said that his new cus­tomers are stick­ing around: “Peo­ple have been pleas­antly sur­prised by our ser­vice. We’re a pro­fes­sional out­let that will de­liver has­sle-free.

“Peo­ple have told us that the 12 weeks de­liv­ery was so great that they’re car­ry­ing on. The re­ten­tion rate has been fan­tas­tic.”

Mr Brighton said that some of the new cus­tomers had tried other com­pa­nies and weren’t re­ceiv­ing their daily de­liv­er­ies un­til around 10am.

“The feed­back we get is that peo­ple are de­lighted to re­ceive their pa­pers much ear­lier. They told us that they were go­ing to can­cel (after the of­fer ended) but felt the ser­vice was so great that they­were go­ing to carry on.”

The net re­sult is an in­crease is the num­ber of cus­tomers, and as lock­down con­tin­ues to lift they will get even busier.

“Our busi­ness is grow­ing,” Mr Brighton said.

“In the first two weeks, we were los­ing 200 cor­po­rate clients and gained 500 new domestic cus­tomers. Ho­tels, hos­pi­tals, re­cep­tions, can­teens all went overnight.

“They won’t come back in the short-term, but we’ll be ready for them when they do.”

The com­pany, which is based out of Wood­ley Park Es­tate, off Read­ing Road in Wood­ley has made ev­ery ef­fort to keep staff and cus­tomers safe dur­ing the pan­demic.

“Our work­ing prac­tices have changed com­pletely,” Mr Brighton said. “We have clean vans, ster­il­is­ing them and en­sur­ing the guys have the right equip­ment. (PPE) is sec­ond na­ture to them now, it’s be­come pret­ty­much the norm.

“We are keep­ing on top of it.”

It’s been more than sup­ply­ing news­pa­pers – the com­pany also de­liv­ers milk, eggs and bread.

“We were even de­liv­er­ing flour at one stage,” he said. “If we could help cus­tomers, we were help­ing them.”

Why does Mr Brighton think de­mand is grow­ing?

“It’s a gen­er­a­tional thing,” he said. “Over 50s still want printed news. News­pa­pers are good for sit­ting down to read cover to cover, some­thing the younger gen­er­a­tion like do­ing at week­ends.”

The com­pany has only fur­loughed one em­ployee – for health rea­sons. The rest of the team have adapted to their new nor­mal and thrived.

“They all knowwhat they’re do­ing and they get on with it,” Mr Brighton said. “They pull to­gether.”

The de­liv­ery area in­cludes all parts of Wok­ing­ham bor­ough, Read­ing and sur­round­ing areas in­clud­ing High Wy­combe, Theale and Maiden­head.

A spokesper­son from De­liver My News­pa­per said: "There's never been a more im­por­tant time for qual­ity jour­nal­ism and we have seen read­ers turn sharply to Home News De­liv­ery over the past few­months to en­sure they don't miss out on their favourite news­pa­per.

"Since the mid­dle of March, De­liver My News­pa­per has been taken up by over 280,000 read­ers with over 400 ex­tra re­tail­ers join­ing the 6,500 al­ready present on the site. We are de­lighted that the plat­form has helped re­tail­ers like Brightons News con­nect with new cus­tomers to both help their busi­ness and serve their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coro­n­avirus pan­demic and mov­ing for­wards."

For­more de­tails, call Brighton’s on 0118 966 7788 or log on to www.brighton­snewsagent­s.co.uk

Pic­ture: Steve Smyth

Colin Thoreau, man­ager of Brighton’s Newa­gents

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