AFTER 18 months of planning, and a pandemic in the way, the Spotty Dog has finally had it’s official opening.

Wiltshire councillor Laura Mayes did the honours and threw the doors open.

But it was not the first time. The Farm Shop actually opened on March 21...and closed again three days later as the country went into lockdown.

Owner and Managing Director, Kerry Davies said: "Having invested so much time, energy and money into transforming our original business, PinkBox Boutique into the Farm Shop I had always dreamed of owning, I wasn’t about to give up everything we had worked for and we had new staff to think of as well."

The new Farm Shop is based at Lower Farm, Rowde, already home to the Rowdey Cow Café and Ice Cream Parlour.

"We knew we could serve our community by offering home delivery of essential food items, but we also needed to keep our staff safe, so we decided to keep our doors shut to the public.

"We shifted the shop around so we could fit in additional food chilled food storage and everything we would need to be able to change from being a traditional shop to a busy food distribution centre.

"We also set up a Safe Zone outside of our shop for customers who wanted to shop as part of their daily exercise and collect their orders from us.

"We risk assessed our potential new operation, rewrote all our policies and procedures in conjunction with our staff. Everything happened so quickly – it amazes me now when I look back at what we managed to achieve.

"It wasn’t easy – we also had to contend with extensive food supply chain issues and fresh produce prices became volatile and expensive and the quality was often hit and miss. But being a Farm Shop, we already had many local suppliers and so we were able to keep much of our range in stock for the most part.

"In May, the Government gave the go-ahead for Garden Centres to open and we decided that we were ready to open our doors again to the public. After another shift around and some additional measures put in place to keep safe, we did just that.

Lockdown was really hard work for us, but we learned so much and our team is closer and more determined than ever to see our business succeed.