Shop Local: Community Shops

Community shops have been on the rise for a number of years; in 1994 there were just 27 registered community shops while in 2016 this number had risen to 348. Community shops are owned and funded by the local community often in rural areas without access to other means of provision. These shops are able to compete with their bigger, nationwide counterparts by focusing on maintaining a loyal customer base, staffing their shops with a mostly volunteer workforce and often providing other community activities including workshops, craft schemes and cafe facilities. Here we explore a few of our local community shops and the work that they do.

ide commIde Community Shop was opened in 2013 following the closure of the village post office. A temporary shop was housed in a portable cabin but after a fundraising effort by local residents, permanent premises were purchased and today the shop is a thriving business. Staffed by 50 volunteers the shop sells a range of locally sourced produce including artisan cheeses, Chunk of Devon pies and pasties and a variety of sliced meats as well as locally made cakes, chocolates and ice creams. Following growing awareness to the dangers of single use plastics the shop has committed to reducing its own plastic waste and in an innovative move  now stock reusable cotton bags made by local residents. These pretty, colourful bags make a refreshing change to flimsy plastic bags and can be used again and again.

Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has similar origins to those just described; in 2016 the owners of the village shop and post office retired and the shop had to close. Local residents became concerned that the loss of the shop as a community hub would be keenly felt and a small group began researching the idea of re-opening. In May 2017 that idea was realised. The community shop is currently housed in a temporary building adjacent to the Methodist Chapel while the cheriton fitznecessary planning permissions and building work continue for permanent premises. The management team focuses on providing the best produce possible for their customers sourced from local producers including bacon, sausages, pies, pasties and savouries, cheese, dips and olives, chocolates, jams and chutneys as well as everyday staples such as bread, eggs and milk. Run by a small army of volunteers the Cheriton Fitzpaine Community Shop has also become a local hub promoting locally run events, displaying public notices and functioning as a place for people to meet.

Otterton’s last convenience shop closed its doors in 2004 despite efforts to try and save it by the local community. In the intervening years residents began canvassing opinion from local residents as to whether to open a community run shop. Over a three year period this group of volunteers hosted fundraising events, scouted for premises and finally obtained planning permission to refurbish the snooker hall and the current otterton commcommunity shop opened in 2014. Staffed by a majority of volunteers the shops mission is to cater to the needs of local people, providing not only everyday staples such as milk, bread and cereal but also locally sourced meat, fish, pies and pasties, wine, beer and liqueurs and frozen, high quality ready meals. The shop is able to compete with its larger, national counterparts by competitive pricing and a focus on local produce.

These three community shops are linked by their stringent sense and love of community; each is run by a group of volunteers willing to give up their time and expertise to the project and provide the best service possible to their local residents. In an era filled with convenience deliveries and big business, we are happy to see these small, local focused shops succeed and wish them all the best of luck for the coming year.

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Source Trade Show 2019!

source tradeWe are excited to be exhibiting again at this years Source Trade Show held at Westpoint Arena, Exeter from 6th-7th February! Showcasing the best from local food producers, hospitality and the catering sector, this is a great show for seeing a wide range of what the South West has to offer – we certainly think so as this is currently the only show we attend.

We will be bringing a wide selection of our products to display as well as showcasing some new products for this year. One of these is a new range of frozen, home cooked ready meals from Olive’s Kitchen. Originally established in 2013 as a deli, demand for their own cooked frozen meals soon overtook freshChocolate Brownie Pack produce and as a result the deli closed in 2016 to allow them to fully concentrate on Olive’s Kitchen. Today they use traditional family methods and home-cooking techniques to produce genuinely delicious food. We can’t wait for you to try their Lamb Navarin – a take on the French classic of slow cooked lamb with root vegetables and tomatoes and for dessert why not try the Chocolate Brownie Pudding, deliciously decadent with a rich and indulgent melt-in-the-middle centre – perfect with a spoonful of equally indulgent clotted cream.

Alongside these new products we will also sampling from Curworthy Cheese. Made on the same farm for the last 25 years, we stock a variety of their cheeses including the sibling to the original Curworthy recipe Devon Oke. This is a full-fat hard cheese matured for six months, during which time it develops its belstonecharacteristic buttery, creamy flavour and smooth texture similar to Gouda. A more recent addition to their repertoire is the Dartmoor Chilli which is made to the traditional Curworthy recipe but with the addition of fresh Ring of Fire chillies sourced from the nearby Dartmoor Chilli Farm. This cheese is matured for only 6-8 weeks which leaves a mellow, slightly sweet cheese able to take the heat of the chillies.

We will also be offering on the day deals on selected bacon, hams and cheeses, however as these will not be revealed until the day you’ll have to come and see us on Stand G31 to grab a bargain!

We hope to see you there!

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