Noel Smith and Leo Varadkar at Fresh Capital Dock

Since Fresh The Good Food Market (“Fresh”) was established in 2006, we have traded exclusively from its store network in Greater Dublin.

By March 2020 we had 7 stores and was actively working on developing the final design of our 8th store, in Dublin’s newest quarter, Dublin Docklands. Up until that month Fresh’s strategic focus was to continue to develop its brick and mortar stores.

The arrival of the coronavirus into Ireland immediately put our store development plans on hold.

In addition to the Docklands store, plans were also in place to refurbish other Fresh stores during 2020.

With the magnitude of the crisis unfolding each day, our management team felt compelled to help.

Rapid deployment to help serve customers

We mobilised an internal team to create a new eCommerce offer, and in just 4 days we launched their new online shopping website https://www.freshonline.ie in April 2020.

The new website was specifically built to support the huge efforts being made by retailers and food businesses across the country to make food shopping as available as possible during the COVID-19 crisis.

During the first lockdown, with many people unable to leave their homes, shoppers availed of our Home Delivery service serving Greater Dublin. A ‘non-contact’ click and collect service was established for those that could visit Fresh stores.

  • The rapid launch meant that our staff could be redeployed from stores, kept in their jobs, and the supply chain maintained. Fresh continued to work with its local suppliers and artisan food & drink makers, who make up a key part of its diverse product offering. 

In the initial phase the website we had 200 essential products listed, selected from Fresh’s top selling product lines, and one chilled van on the road.

Within 6 weeks operation of its online service, we had 4 chilled vans on the road. There are now over 1500 products and growing.

As the lockdown eased in the Summer, refurbishments were completed in its Northern Cross and Stepaside stores.

Forging new partnerships

In the summer of 2020 we established new partnerships with Dublin based restaurants and food businesses to serve its customers in new ways.  Food kits from restaurant group Asador | Prado, family butchers Kerrigans, and burrito chain Boojum supplemented its own gourmet range of dine at home options.

These types of collaboration offered Fresh customers even more choice, quality and new food experiences at home.  At the same time, we were able to grow our online operation with exciting and exclusive offers.

Our expansion into more non-food categories, and launching gifting, hampers, games, and our dedicated service for corporates has helped create a genuine point of difference in the marketplace for the Fresh brand.

A hopeful 2021

2020 was a tumultuous year. Never to be forgotten. Every business has been affected, either positively or negatively.

In January of this year we launched our Nationwide Delivery service, which we are continuing to develop. We have been delighted to receive orders from across the world for deliveries from Dingle to Donegal. Fresh The Good Food Market Gift packs and Fresh hampers have made up the majority of orders as customers, unable to travel home, sought new ways of creating some smiles 'back home'.

We would like to thank our store teams who have adapted quickly and have worked tirelessly to serve customers throughout the pandemic. We also appreciate the great work done by our suppliers who rose to the challenge and are continuing to keep the shelves full during very challenging times.

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