I try to shop local whenever I can, which is why I was really pleased to learn about an innovative shop owner taking his corner shop to the next level.
Yes, a local corner shop has remodelled itself as a champion of small, local food producers, and customers have been flocking to their door since this weekend’s relaunch.
Reliably providing the sleepy suburb of Wigston Fields with papers and sweets, the Carlton Drive store was just another corner shop. However, under the direction of Pratik and Bhavini Master, it has been transformed into a mecca for food lovers.
The Masters have used their foodie connections to fill the shelves with all manner of delicious, locally made food and drink. There is cider from Charnwood, freshly baked bread from Oadby and delicate macarons, made near to Abbey Park! The tagline is, unsurprisingly, #notjustacornershop!
While the daily newspaper is still important at the News & Deli, championing high quality, local produce has proved a hit with the locals.
“Even on the busiest Saturday, we could perhaps expect to see 100 customers in a day” reminisced Pratik, who is taking over the reins of the business from his father, retiring after 17 years behind the counter. “On our re-launch day, we estimate that nearly 1000 people came through the doors – I just couldn’t believe it!”
The News & Deli is a labour of love for Pratik. Inspired by the food connections he has made running Lilu Fine Dining restaurant in Leicester city centre, he firmly believes in being the change that you want to see in the world.
“At Lilu, we meet fantastic producers, but we can’t always work with them as their products may not fit with our Indian menu. I wanted to find a way to give as many small businesses as possible the opportunity to showcase what they make, and to give our local community more and better choice when it comes to their food shopping” Pratik said.
More than 10 local producers set up stalls in and around the shop to celebrate the launch, giving out samples and talking to delighted shoppers. These included baked goods from Bisbrooke Artisans, sweet treats from Sweeet Tooothz, and Leicestershire’s very own vintner, Liz Robson from the Rothley Wine Estate.
With marquees on the frontage with displays of handmade gifts and freshly made candy floss, there was something of a carnival atmosphere to the launch day. And Team Master hope to regularly repeat that vibe. This Saturday a new set of producers will be on hand to showcase their wares to the public including the award-winning Gelato Village and artisan bakers Choux’tique.
There is every indication that despite gloomy tales of trouble in the retail sector, this unique new venture has a successful future ahead of it. Fresh bread, pastries and samosas are being delivered daily and are selling out within hours, such is the demand for this new kind of high quality local food in Wigston.
For more information about News & Deli, please visit website notjustacornershop.com now.