Over 80% of h&b’s independent merchant members are open for business as the COVID-19 lockdown enters its eighth week, operating strictly within the government’s safety guidelines to ensure the safety of staff, customers and suppliers.
Even among the h&b member merchants that are officially closed, many are servicing NHS, social housing and other essential projects with a skeleton staff, even though their gates are closed to the general trade and to retail customers.
Using a variety of trading formats including click and collect, reduced opening hours, delivery only, contactless payments and collection by appointment only, the majority of h&b members have managed their way through the initial uncertainties of the crisis and continued trade in order to support local tradesmen, essential contracts and, importantly, manufacturers and suppliers.
“Showing the agile and positive attitude that is typical of independent merchants, more than 80% of our members are open for trade in one form or another,” says h&b Trading Director Jamie Wyatt. “Merchants lie at the heart of the building industry supply chain and without them supplying materials, many contractors and tradesmen would have struggled to stay in business in these uncertain times and their ability to support key projects at risk.”
h&b’s own organisation also continues to operate with staff working from home and the team is maintaining its service and support levels to members throughout. “At times like these for independent businesses it can seem a lonely place. Being a member of h&b can offer the help, reassurance, best practice guidance and stock availability that make trading a safer place for everyone,” says Jamie.