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COVID-19 Has Boosted Dorset’s Local Shops, But They Still Need Supporting

The Larder, a new village shop set up in the grounds of the Rose & Crown in Longburton The Larder, a new village shop set up in the grounds of the Rose & Crown in Longburton

30th October 2020

It is pleasing to report that the trend to more local shopping has continued since Lockdown, and it is even better that we can report new shops opening now.

During Lockdown Dorset CPRE urged members to buy locally made food and drink, as their makers were heavily hit by the closure of restaurants and pubs, and also to support their local village shops, who sell a higher proportion of local food and drink than supermarkets do. It is pleasing to report that the trend to more local shopping has continued since Lockdown, and it is even better that we can report new shops opening now.

This October a new village shop was set up in the grounds of the Rose & Crown in Longburton. John and Becky Gibbons, who run the pub, started doing takeaway food and helping those who needed shielding during Lockdown. This gave them the idea to create a village shop, The Larder, run by Becky, using a shipping container which they clad in wood with shelves made from apple crates. They are selling essentials, locally made food and some luxury items. They have arranged for a Post Office mobile van to visit one a week too. John said: “ A lot of the villagers are elderly and have been very supportive”.

Over in Sturminster Marshall, Sharon Love was a partner in a Poole Florist before Lockdown. The shop briefly restarted after Lockdown but the reduced footfall meant it had to close. Sharon has set up outside the Anchor at Shapwick, her village, using a converted horse box selling flowers and garden ornaments. We wish both these shops the best of luck.

Both of these are evidence that COVID-19 has prompted a move generally to more local shopping, offsetting too the previous long-term decline. We have campaigned to support village shops for some years now, running the Best Dorset Village Shop competition, so this is all encouraging news. We would also like to report that one of the winners of the Best Dorset Village Shop Competition, Duck’s Farm Shop in Portesham, will be unveiling on Wednesday 4th November, their new look shop and extended stock range from 10 am. They have added lots of new lines and a dedicated ‘Made in Dorset’ section, extending their already strong offering to the local area. Owner Lee Worsley says, “Since the start of the pandemic, local services have been of huge importance, particularly in rural areas. We are very proud of how Duck’s and its team reacted to this demand, and we’ve had fantastic feedback from the local community. From deliveries to the local area, enhanced orders by phone for collection, and a weekly video of new stock items. It’s a real positive to come out of this year and the harmony of rural communities supporting each other is very strong. It has also meant we have needed to have a larger and more diverse stock holding, and we are investing heavily into this.” On the day, local producers will be popping in to chat with customers about their produce, and there will be plenty of tasters to try.

Please continue to support all these shops, and our local food and drink producers.

Rupert Hardy

 

 

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