Deli comes to Great Glen
Things are not so great for village Post Offices and shops at the moment but Graham & Sue Parkinson at Great Glen Post Office are refusing to give in and fade away. Instead they have thrown everything into their business hoping to prove that village shops can survive and thrive.
From the moment you pull up onto their car park and notice that you can either enter the shop by the lift or the steps you know this is no ordinary rural post office.
Last October their shop was totally gutted and a whole new look emerged within just one week. It is now bright and spacious with an oak floor and a rustic country theme, it oozes QUALITY
They have retained most of their original products especially the huge range of quality, designer and unusual greeting cards and gifts, something they already had a good reputation for, but excitingly they have introduced a deli section into the store. This foodie part of the business has been called ‘HOW IT SHOULD TASTE’ which really says it all. “We love food and try to source only quality products. If we have what is in the supermarkets there’s no point in doing it” says Graham. “More and more people are asking where food comes from and we are keen to have the answers” he continues “ We want to change customers way of thinking about food by informing them and showing how wonderful things can taste. A small portion of a fine cheese lovingly produced is worth far more than a great chunk from a supermarket that tastes like soap!”
Graham and Sue have obviously had to learn and invest in food hygiene (“We have so many sinks in the building now!”) but they readily admit the real fun is learning about the food themselves. Over the last two years they have been researching suppliers and producers and will never stop looking for new ones, the more local the better.
“People within this part of the food market are all so lovely, friendly and helpful and all have a real passion for their product” says Sue “ We have found lovely ladies in a beautiful farmhouse in Rutland making the best ever chocolate brownies and lemon drizzle cake. Really great guys in Queniborough who make ready meals better than you`d make them yourself. Three generations of Pork Pie enthusiasts at Cotgrave. Their dedication has made them Supreme Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Champions for 2006 –7. Our customers who reckon to be pork pie `experts` have been won over by these wonderful pies. Quenby Cheese Company who are total Stilton enthusiasts have been greatly supportive and people who didn`t like Stilton have been won over. We have traditional Red Leicester from a real family farm in Leicestershire, how it should be and tasting just as it should.”
Valentines week was also `Purple Love Week` Britain`s largest co-ordinated tasting event. Around 600 delis, farm shops, butchers and bakers across the UK took part in a bid to support and unite smaller independent food shops. Sue felt it was a great success and very satisfying when customers realised how good things could taste. “A farm over the border in Northants produces fantastic Rapeseed Oil and when we gave people a taste, explained its healthy merits and how to use it the chefs in the family were hooked and we sold out within days! An old paperboy of ours has a business selling fairtrade loose leaf tea and when customers tasted it we had lots of `ooos! We have children who would rather have a piece of cheese than a rubbish bag of sweets. One wonderful little chap tries a different cheese from our selection each week and seems to love them all!”
Graham & Sue have their fingers crossed hoping to be granted an alcohol licence so the offering can include fine wines, local beers and English liqueurs again quality and as local as possible being their mission. (They already sell liqueur yoghurt, Whiskey marmalade and Strawberry and Champagne Jam!) Sue sums it up. “This Post Office has been in the family for 48 years, started by my father in 1958, we would really love to get to the 50 year mark and have a big celebration. Hopefully what we have done, together with our fantastically loyal customers, will see us through”