local produceJust like Steve Denham and his piece on “Local Produce Good for Business” I too totally believe in local food, where it can be a point of difference for the shopper and increase footfall to your store.

Bread, cheese, milk, honey, ice-cream and sausages are generally easy to find within a short distance of our store. However if you want to build your reputation on retailing local food you need to coax the producers into becoming suppliers. This is crucial. Below are three examples of how this has worked for us.

Case Study 1

Amber moved into the village over 12 months ago and grows a superb array of cottage flowers and sweet peas. She is a natural with flowers and we have been able to develop her talents for the retail market too.  Now we know we have an established businesses relationship and she produces fresh potted herbs for us as well on a sale or return basis.

Case Study 2

Liz (pictured) is passionate about food heritage and making food taste extraordinary using a few extra ingredients. Her food tasting demonstration in store last Saturday saw a whopping 50% conversion rate from taste to purchase.  At £5.95 a jar her Pontack (spiced elderberry cyder vinegar sauce) is a premium quality product and we let customers taste prior to purchase.  We are their only retail stockist – until it goes into Fortnum & Masons soon no doubt!

Case study 3

Dave is a trained chef and starting with a Steak and Gammon pie in Butty Bach ale two years ago, he progressed to supplying sandwiches and Scotch Eggs. All three products are rated highly by our customers. Dave’s tale has a twist because he now purchases his eggs from us too!

I know this may not be suitable for every store and I know you are thinking it all sounds like a lot of effort but it adds around £100 a month (£1,200 a year) profit to our business after administration and promotion. I think it worth the effort and my customers do too!