Hull Boxes & Packaging

“We’re happy to be helping the local farm shops which usually only deliver once at Christmas to deliver every week to their customers with locally sourced produce and groceries”

Hull Boxes & Packaging Limited is a family-run business who specialise in bespoke corrugated cardboard and plastic packaging for a range of sectors. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, clients who were immediately forced to shut down simply stopped ordering. Half of Hull Boxes & Packaging’s revenue was lost overnight. 

However, some of their clients in retail and food were able to continue their business and expand their offering by introducing a more regular home delivery service, this included a number of local farm shops. Many of these shops originally came to Hull Boxes & Packaging for Turkey and Goose boxes  at Christmas, but they were now coming to them more frequently for similar packaging to accommodate full weekly food shops. 

Despite growing demand from these clients and a record-breaking April for the company, there was still a significant impact felt on the cash reserves of the business. It was at this point that Richard Britten, Managing Director of Hull Boxes & Packaging approached AskIf to explore financing options. AskIf was able to offer a £40,000 loan to stablise the company and to cater for emerging business.  

If Hull Boxes & Packaging was unable to access the loan, they would not have been able to support the business customers, or the end customer; who thanks to a fast turnaround packaging solution were able to enjoy home delivered, locally-sourced produce. 

Joanna Hill, Commercial Director, AskIf, commented: “Hull’s story is a great example of the successes which are flying under the radar amidst this chaos. With the current lockdown and increase in home deliveries the need for Hull’s products is more vital than ever. Packaging is rarely the part of the supply chain which resonates with people, but the pandemic has shown how critical it is.

“It’s incredible that so many businesses have been able to move into new areas to help their customers in such a timely and necessary way. And even better that Hull Boxes & Packaging is able to support farm shops to keep families fed, indoors and safe during this time. 

The team at Askif was delighted to be able to facilitate a CBILS loan and play a part in supporting this business, the businesses who rely on them and the customers they serve.” 

When the Coronavirus outbreak hit and the UK was forced into lockdown, many of Hull Boxes & Packaging’s customers were forced to shut down and immediately put a stopper on any new orders. This meant half the order book was lost overnight. 

Fortunately, some clients were able to continue and expand their offering by introducing regular home deliveries to their service offering. These clients were in the main, local farm shops, popular microbreweries amongst other retailers. This new area of business required new packaging and boxes fit for the delivery and transportation of perishable goods. 

The company was finding that the small farm shops which came to them at Christmas for Turkey and Goose boxes were now coming to them for the same product but to help package up full weekly food shops for their customers. This increase in demand helped the company achieve a record-breaking April and service many families with their weekly groceries. 

Unfortunately, despite growing demand and an uplift in sales, there was still a significant impact felt on the cash reserves of the business. When supplier relationships were strained to the point where action was necessary, Richard contacted his broker to explore financing options. After a simple application process AskIf was able to offer a £40,000 loan to help stablise the company. 

Not only did this help the company maintain its position and meet the demands of a new marketplace, Richard has also shared plans that the loan may create a new role in the administrative side of the company. Whether this is possible will become clear over the next 12-18 months but the team is hopeful. 

Sharing his thoughts on the future Richard commented: “We perhaps would’ve been fine without the loan as our customers are so forward-thinking, but everything would’ve been a lot tighter after our losses. We wouldn’t have been able to expand more to help our clients who are pivoting. Our clients helping to deliver food are a main focus but we also have clients who are working directly with the NHS delivering PPE, continuing to work with these key businesses throughout this time is important to us.

“As a society I think the way people will shop will change going forward. From what I’ve seen over the past few months it feels like the high street has had its day. As more and more people get used to using home delivery and click and collect services, small British businesses who can meet the demand have an opportunity to grow and we’re happy to be able to support them.”

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