The owner of a business on the brink of closing penned a heart felt letter to her customers telling them the company was struggling and urging them to buy local.

Just 10 days earlier Emma Emery-Sinclair and her husband Harland had made a decision to close Waikato-based Emma's Food bag after six years.

But after grappling with the enormity of the decision and giving it one last chance - Emery-Sinclair decided it was time to be honest with her customers and tell them they were struggling and potentially closing the business.

"...Every day since then has been a gruelling emotional roller coaster, and I have felt like this is my rock bottom, as well as a feeling of relief to not have to worry about this anymore. A lot has happened in these 10 days, it's almost been as if events have passed in slow motion," the letter said.

Waikato-based Emma's Food Bag owner Emma Emery-Sinclair urged people to support local businesses. Photo / File
Waikato-based Emma's Food Bag owner Emma Emery-Sinclair urged people to support local businesses. Photo / File

It finished by asking people to buy locally and place an order - even just a small one.

Within minutes of pressing send on the emotional post, responses offering support came flooding in.

"The response was, 'we do care, we do need you. You are so important - you fill such an important role in the market' - that was really cool," Emery-Sinclair said.

She said people often heard about the struggles businesses faced after they closed - not before when something could be done.

Since sending the letter two weeks ago, business had improved greatly. The husband and wife team had streamlined their operations now offering only one set menu a week, the Express bag priced at $115 for four meals for two people.

The Cambridge couple were also doing most of the work themselves including a lot of the deliveries on Sundays.

However, she said was still early days and the owners had also put the business up for sale. They planned to review their plans in six to eight weeks.

While the company has always had competition launching around the same time as My Food Bag and the Whoop, Emery-Sinclair said the introduction of Hello Fresh last year had created a major price war between the two biggest companies.


"What we've got now Hello Fresh has come is just two giants battling it out and there's just a price war.... They are giving away free food every week. You might buy on for half price, buy one and get two half price or get a free add on like a fruit box or Sunday roast.

"That's hard to compete with. People are loyal to us but they are not so loyal that they are dumb enough to turn down free food."

The price war also coincided with the family having their second child and Emery-Sinclair admitted they were distracted at the worst possible time.

Emery-Sinclair said people needed to be reminded how important it was to buy local and the direct impact it had on feeding families and putting a roof over their heads.

"I think sometimes people have the impression it's more expensive for people buying from a local business, but I genuinely don't think it is."

She said people were also paying for service and quality too and were trying to hook customers because at some point the other businesses would need to make money.

"There's no such thing as a free dinner. I feel like people are selling their loyalty to the highest bidder when they get sucked into these offers."

The company has won a number of awards at the Waipa Business Awards in the past.