Our new and improved online store opened with a bang at an amazing launch party on Saturday. This is definitely not a post to plug that (honest), this is because I’m on cloud 9 after having a chance to meet and catch up with so many amazing and awe inspiring independent businesses. Many whom we have the pleasure of working with, and many who we hope we are lucky enough to work with in future.
A few years ago, I saw a headline in a national newspaper branding Cambridge as a ‘clone city’, saying the high street is full of chains and has next to no independents or character. I’ve had a bit of a rage simmering under the surface about this for years, and now again it rears its head and I can’t help but express my love and support for the independents, of which there are many!
You see, for every high street chain there is, there’s at least 10 times the number of independents working tirelessly, through blood sweat and tears to make a positive impact on people’s daily lives. And this extends beyond Cambridge! Independents may not have the money to have a fancy big city centre store, or the money to aggressively market themselves, but they are there, they are thriving, they are growing, and in their own way they are changing the world for their own families, the people they employ and the customers they serve.
I have a list of stores and business I never use; due to bad customer service, disregard for customer satisfaction, or unethical practice. One day I might share this list with you. But for today, let me just say that none of them are small independents! And I’d like to grow this list of nationals I don’t use, so I’m forever on the lookout for other indies to replace them with.
Our business only exists because of the whole host of indie business’ that work along side us; supplying us, providing services for us, shopping with us. We are all tiny players in a game where a mighty supermarket could just squash us all. We pay ourselves last, or not at all. We sometimes don’t know where the money is coming from to pay the bills. Yet we all hold hands and get through it together! We lose sleep, family time, money, sanity even. But we are united by a love for what we do, a pride in what we make, a respect for our suppliers, and an appreciation of our customers. And after our launch on Saturday, I’m more convinced than ever that we can do this together. We might not all be on the high street, but we can be there for our customers and offer them an alternative to the chains.
We need your help though, the more of us that get their names out there the better we will all do. If we can help one person to shop from their local indies, and help them avoid the supermarket, that’s pretty amazing. Nothing says you appreciate and recognise your indie business’ quite like spending your money with them. If you know anyone that makes quality food and drink please point them in our direction so we can hopefully give their food a home on our website. But above all, share with your friends and family the indie business that you use. There could be people dying to get away from chains if only they knew of a better option.
Aside of the food industry our lives have been full of friends and families running indie business, and they have all inspired and helped keep us sane. There is farmers, dj’s, spa owners, publicans, landscapers, nail technicians, therapists and personal trainers, to name but a few! I’d love to know more, because let’s face it; a life that is filled with interactions with real people, and not sitting listening to ‘your call is very important to us…’ on a multi nationals switch board is a life well spent. Let’s get sharing the indies we love and avoid the faceless, passionless, steam-coming-out-of-the-ears interactions as much as possible.
So special thanks to all those who helped, and continue to help, create the business that we have today. The future is looking bright for a more personal, enjoyable, passionate future that we all share together.
I don’t want to finish this post without a special thank you to Pina writer of the blog One Two Culinary Stew https://onetwoculinarystew.com/ , who took loads of the lovely pics I’ve used today. Pina’s blog is great, she works selflessly to help promote good indie food business, and cooks lovely food too, do check it out, she was a huge inspiration for me starting my own blog. Thanks also to Anne Beamish of Independent Cambridge who has also provided photos, spoke some lovely words at our launch, and generally does amazing work to make sure everyone knows that Cambridge is NOT a clone city!!