With so much talk of the detrimental impact of internet shopping on our bricks and mortar retailers at the moment, one local store is well and truly bucking the trend.
Since it opened in the summer of 2016, the Great Cornish Food Store, which has no online shop at all, has experienced continuous impressive growth and, after a very successful year so far, is now gearing up to break its own record over the Christmas period.
Stocking around 2,000 lines, the independent store, which is located next to Waitrose and the Tregurra Park and Ride in Truro, is dedicated to local produce. This ultimate solution to ‘buying local’ is open seven days a week and has become far more than the place to go for the weekly shop, with many of its customers calling in several times a week.
The store’s owner, Ruth Huxley, explained why she thinks the store is doing so well at a time when others are struggling: “From the word go, I was adamant we would create a space that would look and feel very different to anywhere else,” she said.
“Shopping seems to have become almost demonised – something we gear ourselves up to do as a chore rather than for pleasure – and I was convinced that didn’t have to be the case.
“Our store has all the convenience of a 21st century retailer but we have retained heaps of personality and a big emphasis on service. Our butchery, fishmonger, deli and café are all run by experts able to provide a real one-to-one service and the whole team is trained to go the extra mile, which we know is one of the main reasons our regular customers keep coming back.
“We purposely haven’t ventured online because I don’t think you can replicate all those elements successfully when you are remote from the customer, especially where fresh produce is concerned.
“I feel much more comfortable doing what we do to a very high standard and leaving others to provide the online solutions.”
Christmas is the store’s busiest time of year and it is hoping to exceed last year’s record-breaking sales by getting more people to make local produce the focus of their seasonal celebrations.
With this in mind, the store is hosting a special Great Cornish Christmas preview on Thursday November 22. From 2pm to 8pm, the store will be filled with local producers offering tastings and demonstrations.
For that day only, the store’s licensed café will also be staying open into the evening, with a special two course £10 menu available from midday until last orders at 7pm.