Cork’s family-owned, Basil Food Market & Deli is expanding after online orders spiked during lockdown.
Gareth and Carole Kendellen launched their online platform, basil.ie, within a week of the national lockdown in March.
Since then, the Ballintemple couple have seen orders for their products come from Singapore, Dubai, Australia, Japan, the UK and Wales.
Ms Kendellen said the online business took off during lockdown as “concerned family members” requested “home-made meals, boxes of sweet treats or hampers to their parents, aunts, uncles and family friends.”
Particularly successful were ‘care packs,’ delivered with handwritten notes containing personal messages from the sender.
“We got a real insight into people’s lives over the last few months,” Ms Kendellen said.
“Especially with older people on the phone, they wanted to stay on the line and chat. You got the sense many were so lonely, anxious and scared," she said.
After the success of the past few months, Basil Market & Deli are now expanding their gifting range to include new mother and baby gifts and a home fragrance collection. Responding to customer requests for finer wines, they have already expanded their wine range to include Chateau Minuty, Matsu, Masi and AnticaVigna.
Plans are also in place for bottling their Caesar salad dressing, chutneys and relish for the retail market in the coming months.
With the help of the Cork City Local Enterprise Office, the company is upgrading its online platform and website, due to be launched in a few weeks.
“The support and guidance from LEO Cork City from the very beginning, but especially in the past six months, has been critical to the successful pivoting of our model,” Ms Kendellen said.
“Practical help, encouragement, aid, as well as access to experts, has given us the confidence to explore new product lines and continue to build on our success."