Mother and son hopeful for future after closing lockdown business

Will Grey with fruit and veg stall Lt Downham

Will Grey (inset) helped build and run a fruit and vegetables stall with mum Melanie in Little Downham during the Covid-19 lockdowns. - Credit: Melanie Grey

A mother and son who closed a village fruit and vegetables stall they set up during the Covid-19 pandemic believe they can still benefit help their local community in future. 

Will Grey alongside mum Melanie set up the stall in Little Downham in June last year during the first national lockdown. 

But today (Tuesday), they had officially closed. 

“We opened when we were coming out of the first lockdown and since then, me and my mum didn’t stop working,” Will said. 

“I think going back to normal, people decided to go to the bigger shops.  

“We were not getting much business, and then we have got quieter and quieter.” 

Will, who is autistic, helped run the business after talking to his mum and stepdad about working on a project during the lockdown in summer last year. 

Will Grey with fruit and veg stall in Lt Downham

Will Grey helped build and run a fruit and vegetable stall in Little Downham before closing it down. - Credit: Melanie Grey

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And as residents’ lifestyles were restricted, this proved beneficial for their stall on Main Street. 

“We didn’t stop working and I think that was because everyone was inside and could only walk around the village,” said Will. 

“But when it got to Easter this year, people were starting to go to different places for their fruit and veg.” 

Customers from the likes of Soham, Sutton and Mepal visited the stall, which boasted naturally sourced items ranging from cauliflower to butternut squash. 

“We did expect go on as long as we did,” Melanie said. 

“We always knew once lockdown was over, it was one of those things that would carry on, or people would not come back.” 

Fruit and veg stall in Little Downham, Cambridgeshire

Will and Mel's fruit and vegetable stall, which opened in June 2020, boasted items such as cauliflower, broccoli and butternut squash. - Credit: Melanie Grey

Will, 17, will now have more time to focus on a two-year online college course as he aims to achieve both maths and English qualifications. 

But launching his first business has put Will in good stead for the future, and has received praise for his efforts. 

“When I posted on Facebook that we closed, some said we helped people when they needed it most, so I think we had a good impact during lockdown,” he said. 

“I don’t know if it will be fruit and veg, but I would like to definitely run my own business and I think this has built my confidence a lot more.” 

Melanie has also not ruled out working with her son once again. 

She added: “Will loves cookery, and I have always wanted to run my own coffee shop, so we may do something like that.”