When the South African government announced a national lockdown on March 27, 2020, all companies that were not deemed essential were effectively unable to operate offline. So while food retailers, petrol stations and other providers of essentials could continue during the lockdown, clothing retailers like popular swimwear producer, Granadilla, took a knock.
In a time of crisis, businesses need to adapt quickly, however, and Granadilla saw the wood for the trees early on. Understanding that their swimwear product would not be deemed essential, they pivoted to food delivery – in the space of 48 hours. On March 14, owners Joshua Meltz and Adam Duxbury saw that their retail business was grinding to a halt before the lockdown and so opted put the swimwear on hold and within 48 hours had delivered their first food box.
Having operated in an a historically online space, the Granadilla team were able to shift their mindset quickly. The platforms were essentially the same, only the product was different. In May, Meltz told Business Insider South Africa that the logistics of providing customers with fresh produce through an online platform was the bigger hurdle to overcome, but by partnering with small local business Ehire, they took the deliveries of the boxes in-house.
“The drivers are part of a network, much like Uber,” Meltz told Business Insider SA at the time, “and we have trained them to make contactless deliveries. We also use route optimisation software to make sure they maximise routes and ultimately get paid a fair wage for their time.”
So while the swimwear company suffered at the time of Covid-19, the launch of their new business, Granadilla Eats, took off, with demand for fresh produce, locally sourced, was at an all-time high. And not only did it help Granadilla survive, it also meant local farms were able to sell their produce, while Ehire was also able to continue operations to some degree.
Ultimately, it was a smart, and rapid adaptation to the climate and Granadilla showed it was ripe for innovation and ready to ride out the storm.