George is 89 and lives on his own in Bury…
Sadly his wife (or his soulmate as George put it) passed away a number of years ago, and since, he’s been rattling around the family home on his own.
George keeps himself in good nick (walks everyday) though. And no matter what, he won’t be leaving the family home anytime soon. “It holds way too many memories for me”. George said. “I’ve lived here for over 60 years, it’s where we got married & where we brought our children up”.
George was stood outside getting some fresh air as he had the decorators in. And made a point of letting me know, he still took pride in keeping the family home respectable.
I’ve met some wonderful people, whilst out & about delivering our home printing solution leaflets. But George beats them all. He’s a fantastic person with some wonderful stories.
Turns out (way back when) he owned his own business too. He said he was in food distribution. Intrigued, I needed to know more and pressed him on it. Eventually he told me he was a milkman.
“Well, that’s where we started anyhow.” he said.
Over a 30 year period they built up a milk distribution empire and operated a fleet of 50 milk floats, providing home delivery before breakfast, through a team of over a 100 people.
George said. “Back then there were no super markets as such, everything was sourced and bought locally. But I imagine it’s a lot harder for small organisations now, with the likes of massive super markets & the internet.”
Thinking about what George said, I asked him. “Surely though even in your day. Your home delivery service had to be spot on or people would just go and buy milk at the local store?”
“Well yes.” George said, “I’ve never thought about it like that. And it’s true. If we didn’t deliver fresh milk before people had their breakfast, what was the point in home delivery. They might as well go get it from the local shop”.
George went on. “And do you know what else? Back then, home delivery of milk direct to the doorstep was cutting edge stuff. And it wasn’t easy to change people’s mindset. In fact, we did the same thing as you. To grow the business we designed & printed leaflets that we hand delivered.”
After taking a breath or 2 George continued. “Although, when we first started out not everyone had a phone (and certainly didn’t have a website), so we had to include an address where people could visit or send a letter to book the service they required”.
George then said something quite startling, but true. “Take milk distribution as an example. The supermarkets have driven the price of milk so low that most people stopped paying the extra to have home delivery. Which has put many milk distribution companies out of business. But as life has become more hectic, they seem to be switching back to having their groceries delivered again, and even paying extra for the privilege”.
It’s funny George said “I know it’s many years later. But what your doing with your home printing service, is very similar to what we did with milk distribution. We provided people with the right amount of milk for a fixed weekly fee, delivered direct to their door & we would even replace the glass bottles if they smashed. And you’re providing people with a ‘fit for purpose’ multi-function printer with unlimited cartridges (delivered to their door) for fixed monthly fee. And you’ll even fix or replace the printer it if it breaks.”
“The only thing that seems different is the product.” concluded George.
Over 60 years ago George started a weekly subscription based milk delivery business, that made peoples lives that little bit easier. And we’re just trying to do the same. And yes, the only thing different is the product (with some extra savings along the way too).
George is right, home delivery in a subscription package is not a new concept. And these things seem to go in cycles. Is it simply a case of what goes around, eventually comes back around again?