A CASTLEMAINE dairy is rallying businesses around home deliveries to help locked down residents.
Ford Family Dairy currently deliver to 40 homes in the Castlemaine area on Tuesdays and another five out Maldon way on Fridays.
Fords was one of the many businesses that has had to find creative solutions to financial shortfalls because of the pandemic.
Mount Alexander Shire's accommodation and food services sector lost nearly 14 per cent of its in output when the pandemic arrived, and about $26 million in wages, according to the latest estimates by economic consultants at REMPLAN.
The shire's retail sector also lost 14 per cent of its worth between March and June, the same estimate showed.
REMPLAN is yet to publish its assessment of how badly July's coronavirus second wave and lockdowns affected central Victoria's economies.
Fords has again found itself without many of its cafe clients for a second time after stage three restrictions returned.
Office manager Wendy Strong has spearheaded the dairy's home delivery service and invited other businesses to get on board.
"So we've organised it to be a little bit like a business co-op," she said.
"There's a lot of companies that are now doing their deliveries, but not all can do it themselves."
Fords' delivery runs now include everything from bread to honey and whatever else Ms Strong thinks its new customer base might like.
"I tried to make it really personalised, so that people feel like they are part of it," she said.
"I'm asking our clients what they think about new ideas products, and being as flexible as we can with how they order and pay for things."
Some of Fords' home delivery clients are older people who do not want to risk leaving the home on grocery runs if they can help it, Ms Strong said.
Others are parents caring for children.
Accommodation and food services across central Victoria have been among the hardest hit during both lockdowns but were among the few industries able to claw back gains in the months between.
In Mount Alexander, the sector was able to add another $24,000 to its total output, joining only a handful of industries able to start their fledgling recoveries in May and June, REMPLAN estimates suggest.
It was the same in Greater Bendigo, where the sector added $157,000.
Greater Bendigo's sector was worth $40.1 million before the pandemic wiped of about $15 million. Mount Alexander's was worth $5.2 million before it lost 0.74 million.
Ms Strong encouraged any companies with products that might be suitable for deliveries to get in touch with Fords Dairy.
Visit Fords' website to place an order.
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