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?