In praise of shopping in local shops

Several years ago I wrote a post on a different blog that I used to have about local shops.  It was in response to an article about the former boss of Tesco, Sir Terry Leahy, describing that the rise of supermarkets and closure of small shops is “part of progress”.  I disagree with this and think it is rather sad when high street shops close.

I mentioned about Seaford Health Store having won a local competition for being their favourite high street store.  Fast forward several years later and this store is still there serving the residents of Seaford.  I’ve been in there recently and bought bread as well as vitamins.

There was also a time that I wanted to make a recipe that required capers, and I went to the local supermarket just before lunchtime.  In the spot where they should have been, there were none.  I asked when they would be back again, and the reply was probably tomorrow after restacking overnight.  I returned early the next morning.  Still no capers.  The response this time was totally different, implying that a delivery probably hadn’t come yet to restock the shelves.  Now this is the largest supermarket in this town, so I thought this was the best place to try.  There are two other supermarket chains in town, and I then tried both of these to no avail.  For interests sake, I thought I would pop my head in the health food store and see if they had any, and low and behold they did.

How can it be progress to get rid of small shops, when big supermarkets can’t keep their shelves stocked.  I realise this is a sweeping statement, and it is one item, but often I think it is nice to go to a smaller store and support it, and often get better service in the process.

I have had some good experiences in small shops, also when we were living in Italy.  And even when we were in Italy over the Christmas holidays.  Take for example when we went to the baker for slices of pizza.  We were asked if we wanted to wait 5 minutes as more pizza Margherita would be ready then.  Also we decided to buy some biscuits and were told that even if we intended to eat them at home, it was still worthwhile to have things wrapped nicely and with festive string and the label of the bakery on the cellophane packet.

Plus in the Sydney suburb where I grew there is still a group of independent retailers who do rather well.

What is your experience of local shops?

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  • Philippa Challis

    I was interested to see that some small local shops are leading the way in reducing the use of plastic packaging.

  • I really enjoy local shops too, Cathy. 🙂 Especially local delis and butchers and bakers – there’s something so wonderful about walking in and being able to talk to the creators of the goodness they’re selling. 🙂

    • So pleased to hear that Krista 🙂 It’s nice building relationships with local shops 🙂

  • Ken Powell

    Those local shops are still there too, Cathy, even if a few have changed purpose or owner. Sixty years this year for the pharmacy, and the same delivery “boy” 🎉

    • So pleased to hear that. Wow sixty years for the pharmacy – have they got a celebration planned?

      • Ken Powell

        Nothing heard yet, but sure to be something later in the year

        • I’d be interested to find out what they plan eventually 🙂

          • Ken Powell

            I’ll keep you posted. I remember you were here for the 50th in 2008 😉

  • chickenruby

    I’ve not been to Seaford for a few years now, but my cousin and family live there with the majority of my mothers family in neighbouring towns/villages. I love visiting independent stores and wandering around picking up bargains when I come to the UK. I find if I shop carefully I can also save quite a bit of money compared to the supermarkets, which people assume are cheap based on the price of a few items

    • @disqus_JKs1LqgYoD:disqus it’s certainly worth looking around local shops for potential bargains. Many thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Carol Cameleon

    I do love to support local shops and do so whenever I can. It is disappointing when the fresh fruit isn’t always very good quality or past its best though. #pocolo