Kerr’s Family Dairy has experienced exceptional growth since launching its latest depot.
Opening a new depot in Aberdeen just as the country went into the lockdown might not have been in the original business plan for Kerr’s Family Dairy.
But in establishing themselves in the north just as stores experienced unprecedented surges in demand, the business has nearly trebled output since March.
Launching in Aberdeen as the global pandemic hit the UK, the team has worked hard and has already hit its 2020 targets for the north-east site which is based in Bridge of Don’s Murcar Commercial Park.
Operating for more than 120 years, the Dundee-headquartered business has since employed 15 local people at the new depot.
Kelvin Kerr Jnr, director of the firm, hoped to have six vans delivering milk in the north-east by 2020, but says the company is well on track for beating its year targets and has 10 vans operating in the area already.
He said: “The pandemic, in a way, has sort of helped us. There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes. We are on target for this year which is great. Our target for Aberdeen was to get six doorstep vans and one wholesale van on the go. We’re now on our 10th van up there now. We have 15 employees, two working at the depot.
Watch the team at the new Aberdeen depot as they prepare for the morning delivery rounds
“It has been quite a journey and we just need to keep at it. We’ve got six canvassers up there as well. We’ve brought employment to the local area which is great, especially just now.”
Adding 5,000 new customers to the company’s books, Kelvin says keeping up with demand and ensuring everyone has access to fresh milk daily is a priority for him and his workforce.
Churning out 48,000 bottles of milk every week between Aberdeen and Dundee, the firm has almost trebled its weekly sales since mid-March where it was selling 17,073 bottles.
“We have around 5,000 customers in the north-east area now so we’re kept quite busy. We’re selling more than 48,000 bottles of milk every week across the company. It obviously varies from time to time. Sometimes the team are doing around 350 drops a night,” said Kelvin.
“It has also been really good for the local community, too. There’s a lot of work still to do but it’s great to see so many continuing to order their milk doorstep deliveries. During the pandemic we have really tried to ensure everyone gets their milk on time. We were initially getting hundreds of new customers a week so it was very challenging, but we have tried our best. We’d go out of our way to help customers who maybe weren’t on our delivery routes just to make sure they could get their milk. Initially we were only in certain areas in Aberdeen, but we would go out of our way for the elderly and those who needed.
“We’re away to launch our wholesale side of the business in Aberdeen, too. Lots of companies have obviously been closed during the initial lockdown, but now more businesses in the area have opened up. Launching the wholesale side of the business will mean we’ll be able to employ even more people.”
Delivering across the north-east as far north as Fraserburgh and south to Stonehaven, the Dundee depot is responsible for all orders south of Laurencekirk, meaning the firm now covers a large part of the east coast.
Employing numerous former self-employed taxi drivers, Kelvin says he has landed on his feet with his new workforce.
He said: “We deliver from Stonehaven right through to Banchory, Westhill, Inverurie and Oldmeldrum. We also deliver to Portlethen, the city centre, Dyce, Ellon, Methlick, Tarvis and then all the way up to Fraserburgh, too.
“We use First Milk for our milk which is a Scottish farming cooperative owned by the farmers. We work with McQueens Dairies who buy all the milk and we then bring our arctic lorries from a Glasgow depot and bring it to our Dundee and Aberdeen bases.
“I took on two managers in Aberdeen who were self-employed taxi divers. With Covid-19, their business had really fallen quite a bit. I have great guys who I can trust a lot and they’ve even brought some of their friends on board, too. They are all loving it. They were used to working 12 hour shifts and are now working four days a week for us and getting to see their families more. Some of them have been taxi drivers for 15 to 20 years.
“I know Muller left Aberdeen a while back and there’s still a few franchisees, but we want to see if we can also help them as best as we can. We have also just signed a deal with Aberdeen Football Club and we are now the official dairy sponsor for the team so there’s lots happening with the company just now.”