Q&A Kennerleigh Village Stores

The Heart of our Company Blog

Sonnie at Kennerleigh Community Shop spared some time to answer our Q&A questions, a busy little Village store based in Kennerleigh near Crediton.

Kennerleigh Community Shop has been a Customer of ours since 2017, we acquired them as a Customer when we bought Crediton Chilled Foods who were selling up as their business had come to a natural end and the Owners were wanting to move onto pastures new.

We really hope that all of the local small community and village shops continue to thrive and Customers remain supporting them as life starts to return to a small bit of normality, the local shops really need our continued support.

Q: How long has Kennerleigh Community Shop been running?

A: There has been a shop here for many years but the community took it over in 2014. 

Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

A: I don’t really feel like we work in the ‘food’ industry, we work with a wider range of products than just food and are focussed on providing a service to our community. I think that all the staff and volunteers would say that the most rewarding part of the work is serving the community and especially doing the little ‘extra bits’ that only a community shop could do – like deliveries to customers who are unwell and of course during the COVID pandemic we have also made regular deliveries to customers who are isolating. Putting effort into making the shop look appealing with regularly changing window displays and stocking new products is also rewarding. The only downside is perhaps getting the shop open on a wet, cold wintery morning, but that doesn’t happen for too long before the spring comes! 

Q: If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

A: Because I am Dutch I would first of all choose Gouda but from the Cornish Gouda Cheese Company. I would also choose other local cheeses, Devon blue and Cheddar.

Q: Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A: Customer numbers have definitely increased during the pandemic and although they have recently fallen slightly, we’ve managed to keep the majority with us.

Q: How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

A: Around 4 years, I have been managing since 2019.

Q: What are some of your best-selling products?

A: Have these changed during the past year? The customers like the selection of cheeses, Chinn’s sausages, chipolatas and bacon. During the last year smoked mackerel and smoked salmon also sold well.

Q: Do you regularly look for new stock? Are there any products we don’t currently sell that you you’d like to see available? 

A: I try to order different items to introduce to our customers and to keep an open mind for new ideas. One thing the customers are missing is the olives from Olive Stall. 
The new Westcountry Olives packaging is now in circulation which we are much happier with, hopefully you would be willing to give the olives a try with your Customers. We are always working on getting the flavours right, so welcome any feedback.

Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?

A: I do like to eat in pubs, the food they can serve is usually amazingly good. I really like the English culture, especially in this region, of going to the pub together with friends. I think no where else in the world the pub is so nice as it is in England.

Q: What is your favourite meal to cook?

A: I like to cook “chicken in the hat”. Now you will ask me what that is….its a very secret recipe giving by my mother…its contains chicken, cherries and filo pastry….more I won’t reveal.

Q: As a very valued Customer is there anything, we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?

Isca has a very good range of produce and our shop is benefiting from this. The employees are extremely friendly and helpful. I have built a lovely working relationship with Bethany, Lochie and Jamie the delivery man. I just ask you to continue with this high quality of service which I am very grateful for.

As always please get in touch if you would like to take part in our Heart of our Company blog series, we are after some more willing Customers to take part so we can continue this blog we are really enjoying to run.

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Vegetarian week – Supplier Q&A with Olive’s Kitchen

In the first of our Supplier blogs we spoke to Charlie at Olive’s Kitchen who spared some time to answer some questions for us. 

A small family run business based in Dorset with a real passion for preparing, cooking and supplying great quality hearty food.
We stock a range of their meals which are frozen quality ready meals – they use local products and ingredients and that really shows in the taste. 

As we are promoting Vegetarian week he told us about their most popular vegetarian meals. 

As part of Vegetarian week our ‘Orchardlea Weekly offer’ this week is 10% off the Olive’s Kitchen Vegetarian meals we stock, checkout our facebook post from yesterday for details of the code. 

Q: How long has Olive’s Kitchen been running?

A: 5 years

Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

A: Most – We love the journey from sourcing the ingredients to cooking our delicious meals. Creating something people can enjoy! 

Least – Like all business, of course we have our bad days, but generally speaking it’s a great industry to be a part of.

Q: You ran a Deli before Olive’s Kitchen came about, what was it that made you decide to launch Olive’s Kitchen?

A: We were already producing Olive’s Kitchen whilst in the deli as a small line for our customers.
The demand grew to such an extent that we decided to follow this path. 5 years on, demand is still growing!

Q: Have you seen an increase in your sales during the pandemic?

A: Yes – Significant increase in all areas.  

Q: How have you adapted your business during this past year?

A: We haven’t needed to adapt really, as we were perfectly placed in the market. All it has meant is we need to cook more!

Q: We are promoting Vegetarian week the w/c 10th May, which is your bestselling vegetarian meal?

A: They all sell in quite equal volume. However, the Butternut Squash Lasagne and the Macaroni Cheese are probably just in front.

Q: Have you got any new recipes/products in the pipeline?

Yes – Roasted Vegetable Lasagne, Chicken Korma, Roasted Vegetable Penne Pasta and a Chicken and Mushroom Pie.

Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?

A: We love our local pub! Proper pub grub with a really friendly service. Its great to see them back open (and others!)

Q: Is there anything you have learnt from running your own business?

A: Don’t worry about making mistakes, they will happen. Just learn from them and don’t make them again!

Q: Last question, social media is so huge these days and most businesses have some form of Social Media we just wondered out of interest why you don’t currently use Facebook/Instagram etc?

A: Social media is an area of our business that we need to look into and develop. That said, we are not sure that we follow the general perception that social media is essential to survive We do incredibly well from word of mouth and our own personable approach.

If you haven’t tried stocking any of the Olive’s Kitchen range then now is a great time to try – order yours today when placing your order with us.

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Q&A Nibbles at your service

The Heart of our Company Blog

This month we are focusing on one of our newest Customers, Nibbles at your service.

Tiffany got in contact when we launched Westcountry Olives last year as she was looking for some local olives to add to her mouth-watering graze boxes. She then started using some of our cheeses and other products as part of her boxes. 

Full of local produce and made with an abundance of love and care, if you haven’t had a grazing box before then definitely get in contact with Tiffany, for her as a new business launching in the midst of the Pandemic last year all support is much appreciated so give ‘Nibbles at your service’ a follow/like on social media. 

You can also purchase their grazing platters via their website https://www.nibblesatyourservice.co.uk/

Q: Can you tell us about ‘Nibbles at your Service’?

A: Nibbles at your Service is an independent catering business, based in East Devon – we specialise in freshly-made-to-order
and handcrafted platters, presented beautifully in ready-to-serve boxes. We source the best of the South West’s products – so
you don’t have to – using the finest ingredients, locally sourced delicacies and a final, handcrafted and unique touch.

Q: What inspired you to start doing graze boxes?

A: I have always been very passionate about great food and the power it has to bring people together. I could see that the
‘grazing’ world was missing this same passion that food can bring us – excitement, colour, variety and togetherness. That is
why at Nibbles, we have 18 different varieties to choose from and even these can be tailored to meet your personal
preference and dietary requirements.

Q: What are the must haves in your graze boxes?

Firstly, everything should be of the highest and freshest quality – above anything else. Secondly, only the tastiest and best
quality ingredients are used in every platter which we create and we have taken time and care to ensure each platter we
serve is consistent in both quality and quantity and not only meets but exceeds our customer’s expectations. Fresh and
plentiful food is the most important ‘must have’ for us.

Q: As a relatively new customer, how did you hear about Isca Foods?

A: In our endeavour to keep as much of our produce as local as possible, that led me to sourcing delicious olives from
Westcountry Olives and consequently, this wonderful discovery led me to another family run business – Isca Foods.

Q: How long does a typical graze box take to put together?

A: None of our boxes are typical as we make each box as if we’ll be enjoying it ourselves which means we never overbook
ourselves or rush the preparation. Depending on the size and variety, it can take anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour
to create a platter-box but this doesn’t necessarily include any prep we do beforehand!

Q: Do you regularly look for new products to put into the boxes?

A: Yes! We are constantly coming up with new ideas and finding new, exciting products to incorporate into our boxes.
Luckily, we have the freedom and creativity to do this which is why we always say our ingredients may vary because if we
can find something even more delicious to include, then we’ll do it!

Q: What did you do prior to running Nibbles at Your Service?

A: Luckily, prior to starting Nibbles, I had over 15 years of working in Hospitality in one form or another – most recently,
working as First Class Cabin Crew for a major international airline. This means I am utilising a wealth of experience and
knowledge to make our platters the best they can be!

Q: What are you most looking forward to doing once lockdown restrictions have eased completely and life is a little more
normal?

I definitely miss traveling as that was such a huge part of my life before the pandemic took over but more than that, I simply
miss laughing and chatting whilst enjoying a delicious meal with my family

Q: As a very valued customer, is there anything we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?

The most important aspect of any relationship, in any situation is good communication and I feel confident that I can speak
with somebody at Isca who will be friendly and helpful whenever there may be an issue and know it will be efficiently and
courteously rectified.

If you would be interested in taking part in our Customer/Supplier Q&A blog, just drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk, or express your interest when you place your order with us on 01392 661001.

Afternoon tea graze box
Vegetarian graze box
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Q&A Eggbuckland Stores

The Heart of our Company Blog

This month we are focusing on Eggbuckland Community Stores near Plymouth. 

Thank you to Emma for taking part in this months Customer Q&A, Emma took over the store around 18 months ago as a failing business and she has completely  transformed it, a shop that is growing all the time.
They have a really good Facebook following and presence and are very fond of by their Customers. 

They stock a massive range of products so if you are local to the Eggbuckland area or passing by be sure to pop in meet the friendly Team and have a look at what produce they have to offer.

They run a weekly meat raffle which is 50p a ticket, and all the money goes back in the pot. The Store love running this raffle and being able to give this as a prize to a Customer every week – such a great idea!

  1. How long has Eggbuckland Stores been running?

I took it over as a failed buisness 18 months ago, it was established 1967 I think!

  1. What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

    I just love good food & get a buzz out of being able to sell it on

  2. If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

Taw valley tasty cheddar
St endellion Brie
Bousin

  1. Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A slight increase, I think the noticeable difference has been an increase in basket spend.

  1. How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

I took you on from the old buisness 18 months ago

  1. What are some of your best-selling products?

    Have these changed during the past year? Farm meat, free-range eggs, cheeses

  2. Do you regularly look for new stock? Is there any products we don’t currently sell that you you’d like to see available?

    I cant find paneer cheese, that would be useful. Also bousin cheese. Am always looking, love quirky new things, anything that co ops don’t sell!
    We can definitely get hold of those cheeses as above, we don’t keep them in stock but can order them in.

If you’d like to get involved as a Customer or Supplier, drop us an email info@iscafoods.co.uk or message us on facebook to show your interest. 

When life is abit more back to normal we will be doing some face to face chats too. 

Showing Emma who runs the store
"It's like a village shop in the middle of a City"
Showing socially distanced celebration with Customers who live opposite the store
Taken last summer - Socially Distanced 70th Celebrations with Customers who live opposite the store
Showing Orchardlea labelled meats
Selection of Orchardlea pre-packed meats
Fridge full of Orchardlea pre-packed cheese
Winner of weekly meat raffle
A winner of the weekly meat raffle
Showing other products available
Shelves stocked full of a variety of products
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Q&A – Ide Community Shop

Thank you for taking the time to read our first blog in our series
‘The Heart of our Company’
Every month we will be doing a Q&A with one of our Customers or Suppliers from all across the South West, if you are reading this and would like to get involved just drop us an email to info@iscafoods.co.uk or message us on facebook. We are very much open to other ideas for this Blog series too.

Thank you to Ide Community Shop who are the first of our Loyal Customers to take part in our Question & Answer blog.


Q: Can you tell us abit about Ide Community Shop and how long it has been running? 

A: Ide Community Shop was started by local people in 2009 when the previous shop closed due to the ill health of the owners.  It moved to its purpose-built premises in 2013 and is still staffed and run by volunteers.

Q: What do you like the most and least about working in the food industry?

A: As we are a community shop the best bit is being of service to the villagers and getting to know them personally and going over and above the normal service of service a standard shop can offer and helping them out in various ways and looking out for the older members and checking they are ok if they have not been in etc

Q: If you were putting together a Cheese board what would be your top 3 Cheeses?

A: Somerset Brie, Barnstormer Cheddar and Cornish Yarg

Q: Have you seen an increase in people shopping locally since the Pandemic?

A: Definitely – people are coming in a lot more as we are smaller and limiting number in the shop at one time, so they feel safer and because they just do not want to go into town with more people around.  Also, as more people are home working and home schooling they are coming in as not travelling to work or school etc

Q: How long have you been a Customer of Isca?

A: 10 Years plus

Q: What are some of your best-selling products? Have these changed during the past year?

Bacon, cheese, crisps, eggs, milk & wine

A: Sales have gone up across the board on most lines – a lot more alcohol has sold during lockdown as people have to drink at home.  Chocolate and crisps sales have also increased as people treat themselves more as a result of having to stay in.  Also, more lunchtime type foods are selling as again people eat at home and feed their children more at home rather than them having school dinners.

Q: Is there anything we don’t sell currently that you’d like to see available?

We get everything we need of you and think you carry a great range – we especially like all the local products as we try and buy as much local and support local producers and suppliers much as we can.  This has always been our policy since the start

Q: When Covid has decided to leave us alone and we can finally start to do fun things again, what is the first thing you are going to do/ or have booked already?

Definitely to have time with friends and family – I have so missed seeing people especially the older relatives during this time

Q: Where is your favourite place to eat locally?

A: Hard to say as we have so many great local places around us – the two pubs in the village by the shop, The Huntsman Inn, and The Poachers Inn both are great places to eat with brilliant atmospheres and have fantastic landlords and again are a huge part of village life.  Further afield the London Inn at Morchard Bishop is great with an exceptional landlord in Vera and they offer fantastic home cooked food in huge portions.

Q: As a very valued Customer is there anything we can do better to improve the service you are receiving from us?

A: Isca offer great service and great customer care skills on every level – no improvement necessary
(just to confirm there was no free cheese given from Isca as a bribe for this answer!)  

 

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