Southwick greengrocer recognised for providing food to Haywards Heath residents during pandemic

A greengrocer has been recognised for his tireless efforts to provide Haywards Heath residents with food during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 11:35 am

Mark Dyer, 58, owner of Quality Fruits in The Orchards Shopping Centre, received a letter of commendation from Mid Sussex MP Mims Davies as well as a Community Champion certificate.

Mark, who lives in The Crescent, Southwick, with his wife and 21-year-old son, said it was an honour to be recognised along with his team.

“We didn’t expect it because we’ve just been running our business,” he said.

Greengrocer Mark Dyer, owner of Quality Fruits in the Orchards, Haywards Heath. Picture by Steve Robards

“I haven’t had much time off because we’re up early going to markets and picking up produce.”

During the first lockdown in spring last year, Mark and his team increased their work days from Wednesday to Saturday to Monday to Saturday and have been working six days a week since.

As an essential service Quality Fruits was allowed to stay open in the shopping centre’s marquee along with Marks and Spencers and Holland & Barrett.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen, but then all of a sudden we got really busy,” said Mark.

Mark told the Middy that people felt safer shopping in the open air, so his team set up barriers to help customers observe social distancing rules.

They also started a home delivery service for people who needed to self-isolate and donated free fruit boxes to nursing homes in Haywards Heath, Cuckfield and Lindfield.

Quality Fruits also sent fruit boxes to Haywards Heath Ambulance Station, the Princess Royal Hospital, Haywards Heath police station and Lindsay’s Animal School in Burgess Hill.

Mark thanked the Orchard Shopping Centre team and centre manger Nicola Bird who helped with the deliveries.

Mark Dyer of Quality Fruits with one of his fruit boxes. Picture by Steve Robards

He also thanked customers who have supported the stall’s hard work by donating money.

“People have been generous,” he said, explaining that one man donated more than £50 in coins.

“We’ve all kept safe and people have supported us really well – they’re happy to come,” he added.

Quality Fruits is Mark’s family business and has been trading in Haywards Heath for nearly 40 years with its previous locations being on South Road and The Broadway.

“I think the people are really nice,” said Mark.

“We’ve built up a good business over the years with loyal customers we look after and we just like trading here.”

Visit Quality Fruits’ Facebook page to find out more.