LIKE every other business during the coronavirus pandemic, B E Hargan was forced to adapt, especially as most their main customers had to temporarily shut down.

Hargans has been run from Moor Lane in Flookburgh for 30 years and usually supplies wholesale fruit and vegetables to hotels, shops and pubs all over the North West.

It has been run by manager Jonathan Porter and Michelle McClure, whose father Brian Hargan (now retired) set up the business with one van that he used to drive down to Preston every morning to pick up supplies.

Come the lockdown in March, however, they had to make some quick decisions in order to ensure the firm's survival.

Since then, they have been providing free deliveries to people’s doors, with their staff working seven days a week to ensure they can get the boxes out to people in need while also making fresh fruit and veg donations to the NHS.

Mrs McClure said: “The only reason we did really, was to try and help the community and I’ve glad that they’ve supported us through this because we definitely wouldn’t have made it to the end without the support of the local people and surrounding areas.”

With pubs and hotels forced to close their doors for a number of months, Hargans could have faced a bleak future had they not quickly decided to change their business model.

“On the Friday night I was sat in tears, thinking ‘what am I going to do?’ and we just had a chat between us all and we launched it the following Monday,” said Mrs McClure.

Demand has been huge for Hargans' new service and word of mouth has led to satisfied customers recommending it to their friends and family.

Like several of the people she has organised deliveries to, Mrs McClure has been shielding herself from COVID-19 at home, as her medication rendered her vulnerable.

The family feel remains at the company’s warehouse, as her son Aaron works there full-time and her nephew Coby Hargan helps on a part-time basis.

On what plans there are in the wake of lockdown rules gradually being eased, Mrs McClure said: “We’ve started a collection slot now so people can place their orders and then come down and collect them.

“But we haven’t any plans to open the warehouse just at the moment. Our fruit and veg comes in fresh every morning, and it’s not wrapped or anything, so we don’t really want people coming in and picking it up. Everything goes out without being touched.”