We at Conservation News are firm believers in the ‘Shop Local’ movement and we thought we would use this opportunity to tell you why…
Over the past 15 years or so, the rise in popularity of internet shopping and American-style malls had threatened to decimate local high streets, leaving shops empty and independent traders destitute. However, it seems that in more recent years the British public have come to realise that cheap, mass-produced merchandise can’t hold a candle to good old-fashioned, quality craftsmanship and the High Street is well and truly fighting back, despite the toll taken by the pandemic. The rise of what today we would call consumerism actually goes back several centuries, with ‘shopping centres’ such as the New Exchange in London appearing as early as the 17th century.
However, it wasn’t until after the Second World War that consumerism began to take on a form more familiar to modern eyes. An era of safety and prosperity following the hardships of war, coupled with the increased availability of mass-manufactured goods and imports, changed the British shopping scene forever. Over the next few decades, this trend continued unabated, and UK shoppers were bombarded with advertisements for cheap food, clothes, household goods and more. Although the number of ‘chain stores’ had been on the up for many years, it can be suggested that the recession of the 1980s was responsible for driving an even larger proportion of the country into the arms of high savings and low quality.
Hot on the heels of low-cost imports, e-commerce now poses a worrying threat to our High Streets. Of the approximately 68 million people in the UK, around 60 million are regular online shoppers. However, although internet shopping is still immensely popular, something does appear to have shifted in the British psyche.
A brighter future
Since the pandemic, with a crashing economy and invasive austerity measures, it makes sense that people are looking to save money. However, it seems that, in the same way that the last war brought people together, our shared recent experiences have garnered a sense of community. People are happier than ever to support local sellers, especially after so many went out of business during lockdown, and instead of saving money by buying mass-produced goods, people are scaling down on quantity in favour of quality. The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ has resonated with shoppers and people are happy to spend a little more in order to get quality products and, just as importantly, quality service.
Whatever your income, we all love a bargain and, whilst it’s true that you can find some great deals in a supermarket, the fact is that local products from independent retailers aren’t actually that much more expensive; they simply suffer when compared with the BOGOF culture perpetrated by larger stores, plus the quality is infinitely better. People from all walks of life are now realising that we need to support our local business owners to save our high streets and they’re absolutely right. In fact, this approach not only makes sense on an individual level, it’s also the best way to heal our floundering economy. For every £1 spent locally, approximately 50-70 pence is circulated back into the local economy, supporting the people and services that are so vital to our way of life.
The best thing about shopping with local, independent retailers is that they are part of our community. Whether you’re loading up on delicious treats at your nearest farmers’ market, buying the perfect gift from a skilled artisan, or decorating your home using a long-established family company, you’ll know that every penny you spend locally is supporting a real person in your area, and it’s because of this direct relationship between staff and company that you get such a great level of service. Independent retailers know their business inside and out, and can offer you succinct product knowledge with a warm and welcoming attitude.
Duck & Blade
Established in 2021 Duck & Blade is an exciting ‘new wave’ butchers situated in Faversham, offering a wide range of versatile and innovative meal ideas using only quality primal cuts of English beef, pork and lamb. Working in the trade for over 14 years, founder and Managing Director, Owyn Durrant alongside partner Lili are working to provide nothing but quality to local people.
Riggers Gallery, Standard Quay,
Faversham ME13 7BS.
Tel: 01795 6092106 | duckandblade.co.uk
Frankies Farm Shop
You will find a wonderful selection of plants, fresh
produce, a stunning selection of gifts and their
very popular cafe for indoor dining and takeaways; serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and a delicious selection of cakes and pasteries. As well as their famous Poinsettias, they grow Geraniums for summer and Cyclamens for Autumn and a wide variety of other plants, vegetables, herbs and produce. They also offer an online ordering service for grocery orders and will deliver within a 6 mile radius. www.frankiesfarmshop.co.uk
Macknade Food Hall
Macknade in Faversham is a food lover’s paradise. The famous food hall has been in the same family for six generations. Step inside and you will be greeted with row upon row of fresh fruit & veg and hundreds of essential and unusual groceries. The deli has over 200 cheeses and the award-winning butchery is certified Pasture for Life. Don’t miss the cosy café, which showcases all of the wonderful ingredients available in their food hall, and the outdoor Food Village open during the summer months. Open daily. ME13 8XF. macknade.com
Nicholas James came to Locksbottom to bring something unique that no other local shop has. Not only are we purveyors of fine foods and wines, but our piéce de résistance is our Master Butchers. We have our own DryAger for meats, specialise in Japanese WAGYU and USDA steaks. The finest Dingley Dell pork and sausages made using the famous Kennedy’s recipe. We also offer so much more, from home deliveries, entertaining packages, eat in or takeaway delicious food and beverages from our Café. nicholasjameslocksbottom.com
Bull Green Farm Shop
The Duke family welcome you to Bull Green Farm
in Bethersden, Kent. We have a nicely stocked shop with fresh eggs daily, home grown veg, and a variety of local products such as Kentish honey, jams, and local fruit juices & occasionally freshly baked cakes. We also have a freezer packed with locally made pies and tasty treats. We are widening our range and sourcing more local produce, as well as selecting the very best fruits from our orchard. We carry seasonal goodies such as plants and shrubs in the spring & summer. www.bullgreenfarm.co.uk
Chilham Farm Shop
We have run Chilham Farm Shop for 40 years and
Chilham Post Office for 15 years. We stock a good
range of fruit, vegetables and salads, sourced as
locally as possible, as well as cut flowers and house plants. We also sell a range of herbaceous perennials and summer bedding plants, many of which are grown at our own nursery; and a range of garden mirrors, ornaments, garden pots, compost and garden sundries. In the shop we have a selection of general groceries and magazines and newspapers.
Canterbury Road, Chilham CT4 8DX
We believe in delivering only the freshest local
produce to our customers. Walk into our shop to buy meat from our in-house butchery, or pick your own fruit from our farm during summer. We also stock a variety of local cheeses and milk at great prices. We have a wonderful array of fruits and vegetables throughout the year, sourced from our own farm and other local suppliers. We are committed to providing local and unadulterated food, and we make sure that our produce is affordably priced for our customers.
Gilberts of Whitstable
Micro eaterie and exclusive deli selling an eclectic selection of foodstuffs from around the world, with inside and outside seating offering an extensive menu. Great varied choice for all dietary
requirements. Gilberts serve delicious homemade recipes, serving breakfast, brunch and lunch. Takeaway also available, alongside private catering
events. Dog friendly inside and out. Gary and Tara
always greet everyone with a cheerful smile and offer a friendly and warm service. 19 Oxford Street, Whitstable CT5 1DB
Hartley Coffee House & Farm Shop
Hartley Coffee house and Farmshop is set amongst the beautiful Kent countryside just on the outskirts of the medieval town of Cranbrook. A family run business, spanning eight generations and farming 100 acres of award-winning apples, pears and cherries, we are on a mission to champion the best of homegrown and locally sourced produce. Our in-house butchers offer meats supplied by local farmers; the bakery showcase fresh artisan bread, bespoke cakes and pastries and a fabulous range of local and popular cheeses, cured meats and pies at available from the deli. Late Spring will reveal a much anticipated re-vamp to our Coffee House with a new menu focusing on seasonal produce and wholesome food.
Hartley Coffee House and Farmshop
Hartley Road, Cranbrook TN17 3QG
01580 715233 @hartleyfarmkent