changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

…and so to the village shop January 22, 2013

Filed under: thinks — eclectic chicken @ 10:07 am

out of the city?…. and the loss of village shops (don’t get me started on that one).
oh go on then…. take for example  Emmett’s Store in Peasenhall Suffolk

“Emmett’s has been trading from its original site since 1820. In 1970, Emmett’s was awarded a Royal Warrant by HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother for their sweet pickled hams. The store remained in the same family until May 2000, when Mark Thomas bought the business, which he has taken to its current position as one of Suffolk’s world class food producers and suppliers. Emmett’s is still a family business, and Mark is personally responsible for all of the processes that go into making Emmett’s renowned cured ham and bacon. All of the meat is locally sourced and the curing and smoking take place on the premises.”

It’s still there, its still trading and is considered a village store success story…. I’ve no idea if the quality of the sweet pickled hams has gone up or down as I’ve not bought any since it changed ‘family’ ownership. But their website  says “What ever your reason to visit Suffolk, we look forward to seeing you at Emmett’s”.

Last time I went in it was a magical cavern of goods (admittedly many with labels on from the 1960’s) wools, groceries, hardware, hams and now its “Greek olives, Spanish charcuterie, English, Welsh and Scottish cheeses, Sri Lankan chutney” and wine… they seem to have a terribly good wine selection.

Sri Lankan bloody chutney!!!!

But can you get a loaf of bread for under £2 and a pint of milk?

With weekend home ownership running at over 30% in some Suffolk villages you can see why they’ve done it (and I can see how 1960’s knitting patterns aren’t commercially viable except on etsy)…. but I know as a local (which I was for nearly a good few years) I’d prefer somewhere less pricey with less Sri Lankan chutney and more in the way of local food, basic staples and not soley aimed at people who are bleeding the county slowly dry of life and turning it into a rural theme park.

I suppose its preferable to have a shop trading rather than not… as once something is gone completely it tends not to come back and it’s always sad to see house names like ‘The Old Bakery’ (this one I have in mind is in Scalford, Leics…. a bakery that nineteen years ago delivered one brown, one white, half a dozen rolls and three random cakes to me twice a week).

Funnily enough… the baker accross the road from me is from Leicestershire and before he bought the village bakery here twenty odd years ago had looked at taking over the Scalford bakery as the owners wanted to retire and were trying to sell it as a going concern (obviously for quite a while)… as it was he chose Lincolnshire and is still going strong (with a solid fuelled oven too).

When I lived in Suffolk I applied to take over our Post Office (it meant having it in the house- we had a big hallway)… I was told I’d have need to install (and pay for) smash proof glass,  security counter shields  and my house was down a track that wasn’t wheelchair accessible (and any other number of reasons to discourage me from taking it over)… when the closing Post Office (which also sold bread) had a counter with what looked suspiciously like a sprayed white fireguard on top – (that you could walk round the side of if you really wanted to rob her).

I guess the only solution is for locals to use their local shops (wherever they live)… use them or lose them as the saying goes…I know grants/funding is available now for village shops and post offices to help diversify and modernise or to take over as community endeavors. In many places it seems to be workingand that makes me happy becuase once gone they very seldom come back.


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