We’re incredibly proud of our network of fabulous, independent stockists. Of course, we also value the supermarkets and larger retailers who are helping to make our chocolate truffles and vegan ice creams more widely available, but we’ll always have a special place in our chocolatey hearts for the hundreds of local wholefood stores, delis and farm shops that stock our award-winning delights.
Independent shops are at the heart of their local communities and shopping in them is very different from going to the supermarket. But what is it that makes them so special? And why is Christmas a particularly good time to ‘shop local’? Today we bring you a “shop’s eye view” from Frank Pescod, Director of Focus Organic in Halesworth, Suffolk; John McKee, owner of Hanover Health Foods in Edinburgh and Jean Alison, owner of Nature’s Health in Penrith, Cumbria.
Probably the most important thing independent shops offer is personal service and flexibility. John explains, “Indies offer a range which is continuously tailored to their customers. They can also react much more quickly than supermarkets and have new products on the shelves the next day if necessary.” Jean and Frank agree, “We build up a 'trust' with customers, they visit the shop when on holiday year after year, they ring up from far and wide to place a mail order because they value the connection to our shop. We can make decisions instantly and act on them” says Jean. “We learn from our customers” says Frank.
Christmas is the busiest time of year for most shops and while time pressures and convenience make online shopping useful and attractive our stockists are keen to point out the benefits of doing some of your Christmas shopping locally. “It’s essential to shop local at Christmas, supporting small businesses so the local area can thrive” says Frank, “also you get to see, smell and touch products these are important parts of shopping. Plus you get to have a natter with us.” John says, “Any time of year is a good time to focus on small indies but in particular the range can be really good in indies at Christmas and there are more local products.”
Every town and village is different and visiting the local shops is a great way to soak up the atmosphere and support the local economy. Jean tells us, “Penrith is a town of small independent shops full of amazing Christmas choice with friendly people in good Christmas spirit. Nothing nicer than a wander round the streets.” Every shop has its own unique personality too, in Focus Organic you might stumble upon a spontaneous “colourful dungaree day” when all the girls accidentally come into work wearing dungarees. In Nature’s Health Jean tells us how products have been known to “jump (high) off the shelf, we’re used to it” she says, “Lost the number for ghostbusters. You think I’m joking?”
Independent wholefood shops and delis offer the widest choice of Booja-Booja chocolate truffles and vegan ice creams. Especially in the run up to Christmas, these are the shops where you’ll find an array of boxes ranging from our Eight Truffle Packs to our Special Edition Gift Collection and brand new selection, The Signature Collection. It’s all thanks to the hard work of our stockists. We know that running a small, local shop involves a lot more than placing orders, keeping shelves stocked and serving customers, so why do they do it and what makes it worthwhile?
“Human connection! Every customer is different and we pride ourselves on knowing what someone wants before they come down the steps. It is hard work though!” says John. “Small shop work is challenging, hard work, offers excellent job satisfaction, you learn to be a 'people person' and appreciate the confidential sharing with customers” agrees Jean. “It’s a great life, full of community kindness and love” says Frank, “We are family business of nearly 40 years. We look after each other, our staff and our customers”.
Whether you’re a regular visitor to your local wholefood shop or have never stepped foot inside, we’re sure you’ll find a warm welcome, not to mention lots of delicious treats, waiting for you if you choose to “shop local” this festive season.
You can use our stockist locator to find your nearest Booja-Booja stockist.