‘Truly Local’ shop boosts local economy by £600,000 over last five years

A Norfolk shop can boast that it has put over £600,000 back into the local economy as it prepares to celebrate its fifth birthday in March.

Truly Local, in Stalham High Street, stocks only goods grown, produced or crafted in the local area.  This means, utility-providers aside, it spends all of its turnover locally, supporting over 110 local producers and helping to boost the local economy.

“There really is no need to buy products from further afield,” said Truly Local director Mick Sims.  “There are some extremely talented producers locally, passionate about what they do, producing a huge range of top-quality, often unusual products.”

Despite stiff competition from the major supermarkets offering cut-price food, Truly Local will celebrate five years of trading on 22nd March.

The shop is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company staffed partly by volunteers and pays only national minimum wage to paid employees.  With no shareholders to financially support, it does not haggle with producers over price and has lower profit margins on many of their products than many retailers.  “This means that our suppliers get a fair price for their goods and our customers get excellent quality and value,” explained Mr Sims.

“Many people think small independent shops like ours are expensive,” said Debs Coupe, who works in the shop and is the main buyer.  “But we’re just as competitive on many items as the big supermarkets.  And shopping in smaller shops can save you a lot of money, as you don’t get seduced by supposed offers on things which often end up getting thrown away!”

“So many people, particularly holiday-makers, say ‘Why don’t we have a shop like this near us?’,” said Ms Coupe. “They really appreciate having somewhere different to shop, offering more unusual, hand-crafted items rather than mass-produced products you can buy everywhere.”

“It’s amazing how just how much is produced locally,” said Ms Coupe.  “Whilst we might not be able to offer everything bigger stores can, because everything is local and therefore seasonal, what we have is of excellent quality because it’s produced on a smaller scale.  We know many of our suppliers personally, as we do many of our customers since they’ve been visiting us for a number of years.”

When the shop first opened, it only sold products from within 35 miles of the shop, this distance set to allow it to stock English whisky from St George’s Distillery at East Harling.   This distance was recently increased by a few miles to allow them to continue to stock Pooches Dog Biscuits’ which has moved to the Sandringham Estate.

“We couldn’t stop selling Pooches,” explained Ms Coupe. “They’re so popular with our customers and are a great-quality product so we decided to increase our area, though only marginally.  The majority of our goods are more local than that, for practical reasons, as it simply isn’t cost-effective for people to deliver to us or for us to collect from further afield. ”

“As time’s gone on, we’ve seen suppliers come and, sadly go,’ said Mr Sims.  “It is very concerning, what is happening with the British food industry.  Whilst the consumer can currently enjoy cheap fruit, veg and meat it’s the farmers that have to pay the cost of these cuts and this will, inevitably, lead to more and more of them going out of business.   If we’re not careful, in the future, there’ll be far fewer suppliers, far less choice and prices will inevitably go up.”
When Prince Charles visited the shop four years ago, following an invite from one of Truly Local’s customers, he pointed out that Truly Local was the only shop of its kind in the country.  “We still believe that’s true,” said Ms Coupe. “Whilst there are many other Community Interest Companies out there we think we’re the only one supplying only local produce from such close proximity.”

“We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved over the last five years,” said Ms Coupe. “We’ve built up some fantastic relationships with our suppliers and customers and are proud to be able to offer something a little bit different.

“We even operate a barter system and swap surplus produce from people’s gardens for goods in the shop.  Last year we had a wide range of items you don’t see in many food retailers, such as local grapes, kiwi fruit, achocha (a Bolivian vegetable which was grown in Stalham), quince, medlars and gherkin plants”.

Truly Local can be found in Stalham High Street and is open 9.00am-4.00pm, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 9.00am-1.00pm on Wednesdays until Easter and then 9.00am-5.00pm Monday – Saturday during the Summer.

 

It’s now 5 years since we launched Truly Local as a Community Interest Company and to celebrate this resounding success we invited you and our lovely suppliers to a Truly Local Festival on Sunday 22nd June 2014. Open from 10.00am till 4.00pm with a suggested minimum donation of £1 per person, all proceeds went to support How Hill Trust, Ludham. We raised £3000 to support the work of this Environmental Centre for the Broads.

The weather was kind to us, some might say too kind, it was blisteringly hot, and we made it a fun day for all the family including food & drink producers, arts & crafts, singing & music, traditional Village Fete, fun Dog Show, face painting, magic and of course refreshments.

Pretty much all the refreshments sold out, the Tea Room staff were rushed off their feet and everyone had a brilliant time including all our furry friends who showed their enjoyment by all of their wagging tails.

A particular mention must go to Roy Davenport’s Magic Kingdom who put on a magnificent programme of magic, and our huge thanks must also go to the singers and musicians who made the atmosphere just perfect.

All the produce from our suppliers was sourced from our now famous 35 mile radius making this a Truly Local Festival.

 

 

What an amazing year it’s been, winning three awards and the icing on the cake, has to be HRH Prince of Wales’ visit in February 2012. Best of all however is the continuing support of all our suppliers and customers, without whom we wouldn’t be here. Thank you. Here’s to sharing with you our success in the coming twelve months.
HRH The Prince of Wales visits Truly Local – Monday 27 February 2012

Just click on link below to see all photos of the visit

www.edp24.co.uk

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We are absolutely thrilled to be voted WINNERS of the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards 2012 in the ‘Best Independent Food & Drink Retailer’ category at the award ceremony at the Norfolk Showground.

We would like all our supporters, suppliers, customers and well wishers to celebrate in our success, because without you, we would not be here today, THANK YOU.

 

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/…/edp_food_and_drink_award_winners

www.eveningnews24.co.uk

 

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To help us celebrate our ongoing success we invite you to become a ‘FRIEND of TRULY LOCAL’

After 4 years of award winning trading, we would like you to share in our success and in future, be able to feel more part of our ‘not for profit’ community enterprise business. We would really like you to get involved and bring your skills and expertise to help us develop and grow.  We have some exciting plans for the future, and really need you to help us develop the best ideas, for example: ‘Tasting evenings to help us expand our range of produce’……… and many more in the pipeline.   Come and have a chat with us in the shop and let us know how you can help us with our future endeavours.

 

 

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We enjoyed welcoming a delegation of business people, farmers and diplomats from South Korea in April, who came to find out more about how they could set up local food shops in their country. Of particular interest were the parsnips, carrots and caulis which they said were rarely seen where they live ! A great exchange of cultures was had by all, and they were thrilled when we made them honarary ‘FRIENDS of TRULY LOCAL’. The party and Rob Andrews were kindly captured for us on camera by Maurice Gray……….thanks Maurice !