I’m a country boy at heart, growing up with a Green Grocer, a Butcher, a Baker, a local corner shop, a florist, a hairdresser and a barbers shop and a local pub, all in the village square, or about a 200ft radius. The Green Grocer got all of his fruits and vegetables from local farmers and suppliers, the butcher got his meats from various farmers in the surrounding villages.
The baker used local ingredients where possible and made his own cakes, pies, breads, at one point he even did his own pizza by the slice. The corner shop used either a local wholesaler or they would use one of the ethnic wholesalers for the more exotic stuff. The florist would grow most of her own, and as she was an arty type, would also make all of her own decorations and cards. The Barber and the Hairdresser and everyone in the local pub knew you by name.
Yes, it does sound very picture perfect, but that honestly is what it was like. Local people supported local business who then in turn supported local suppliers, keep the local economy afloat.
However, with the rise and rise of the supermarket, there are trades dying out because it’s quicker and cheaper to nip to the supermarket and pick up what you need.
After the decline of the local pub, a big supermarket moved into the premises. And within 8 months, the butcher, the baker, the green grocer, the corner shop and the florist have shut up shop. All that remains now is the barber, the hairdresser and what once was the corner shop, has been turned into a luxury beauty spa.
However, people are beginning to bite back. Seeing the cost of food rise constantly, people are sick of buying large chickens that once cooked look more like budgies, and sausages that are so laden with fat they need draining halfway through cooking. They’re sick of buying flowers that last for less than a few days. Basically it’s not only the fact they feel ripped off, they feel that the sense of community that we all once enjoyed is gone.
No longer can we pop into the greengrocers and ask them to order in a couple of cases of wine, or book an appointment with the baker to discuss making a wedding cake. Having a lot of dogs in the area, the local butcher also made sure he had doggy bags with off cuts from his cooked meats that would otherwise be thrown in the bin and donated all the money they made to a local animal rescue centre.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as these skilled trades are seeing resurgence with college applications up for Baking, Butchery, Floristry, Brewing, Pub and Bar Management, Small Business and Enterprise management and Horticulture and Agriculture. So for all we know, that little village I once called home, could end up being like it was, forcing the much larger chains out and going back to feeling like a tight knit community.