An incredible couple are fighting to keep one of the oldest shops in Market Harborough alive after being hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nicky Ransome, 54, and her husband Milan, 63, are working backbreaking 15-20-hour days in a bid to keep 170-year-old Welton’s in Great Bowden open.
And now they are appealing to people throughout Harborough to back them all the way as they battle to stay in business.
Nicky, who has run the popular Victorian store, deli and tearoom on The Green, Great Bowden, for 11 years, told the Harborough Mail: “We are on our knees – but we are fighting every inch of the way.
“We are having to work just about every hour that God sends to keep going and stay afloat.
“So we are simply telling local people this – please do all you can to support us.”
The dynamic entrepreneur insisted: “Welton’s has been here since 1850.
“That’s a staggering 170 years – four years before the Harborough Mail was launched.
“We are very proud to carry on that amazing tradition and we love the people that we serve here.
“Please pop along to see us or get in touch and make sure that we are here for the next 170 years.”
Nicky said they were forced to close on Saturday April 4 as some members of staff had to self-isolate amid the coronavirus crisis.
“We were also having trouble getting stock so we had no choice at the time,” she said.
But the determined Ransomes re-opened the historic shop about 10 days later after managing to maintain their regular newspaper deliveries.
“Demand for newspapers has exploded.
“We even ran out of Harborough Mails two weeks ago and had to buy some more to keep up,” said Nicky.
“We have picked up over 100 extra newspaper accounts – and are delivering across the board to about 400 people every day.
“We are both out hitting the road at 4.30am every morning, seven days a week.
“Talk about starting work at the crack of dawn!
“I’m out racking up the miles delivering to homes in our car while Milan takes the van.
“Along with the papers we are now also delivering bread, veg, eggs and salad as well.
“We are beginning to deliver meat and sausage rolls along with homemade lasagna and cottage pie to dozens of vulnerable customers.
“We deliver across Great Bowden and local villages as well as most of Market Harborough while also serving Gartree Prison and Peaker Park care home.”
She said they usually employed about 15 staff.
“We are welcoming back three part-timers while the rest are furloughed at the moment.
“That’s a huge step forward as we’ll be able to take the odd hour off for the first time in weeks.
“It’s been shattering but we are putting in 15-20-hour days as we strive to survive,” said Nicky.
“We have also brought in four paper kids as demand’s rocketed.
“Our shop is now open from 10am-3pm seven days a week.
“We have just re-opened our Post Office during the same hours from Monday-Friday – and that’s proving really successful.
“It’s a real shame that our tearoom is still shut during all this fantastic sunshine as it was thriving.
“We hope to re-open it later this year or next year but we just don’t know what will happen to be honest.
“Our coffee-making and ice cream machines are also proving massive hits.
“We love the people of Great Bowden and Market Harborough and they have been so loyal and so supportive.
“So we’d ask everyone to please continue to stay with us in these extraordinary times.
“Turn up here, give us a call, contact us through Facebook.
“We will do our absolute best to give you what you want.”