Standing in the Lord’s Long Room bar after last Wednesday’s Local Shop Summit, I got chatting to Hardev Ruprai, who runs a Nisa Local on the outskirts of Birmingham.

His store features a large off licence section, but he told me he feels there’s an opportunity to do something a bit edgier with with it – something you’d expect in London, but not in Kings Heath. Hardev asked if I knew anywhere to look at for inspiration.

He was in luck, I said, as the hotel he was staying in was just five miles from Harringay Local Store (pictured), a deli and record shop with a great alcohol section. You should visit it in the morning, I said.

While he was writing down the address, I remembered that Drink of Fulham, a high-end off licence with 600 bottled beers, was holding tastings all week and told him to check that out too.

They sound great, he said, but what about stores serving alcohol to drink on-premises? I told him about my recent visit to Eat 17 in Homerton. He’d filled a page of notes by the time we’d finished.

I phoned him on Monday to ask how he’d got on and found out he’d spent the entire day visiting the stores, as well as several Camden bars and the trendy Borough Wines.

Hardev asked if I knew anywhere to look at for inspiration. He was in luck, I said

He’d also researched Eat 17 online and was so inspired he’d made an appointment with a local solicitor specialising in on-premises licence applications and contacted two wine importers.

Hardev’s day out is what the Local Shop Summit – and Retail Newsagent – are all about: the opportunity to meet great retailers and suppliers, share ideas with them and, most importantly, take things back to your store to try. And very often it need only be one idea to make it a day well spent.

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