Keep It Local

Local is better!

Peter, Svetlana and Stuart. These are just a few of the names of some of the personalities you can find behind the counter in just three of the many independent businesses we are blessed with here in St Andrews. I am on a mission to spread the word about how beneficial shopping local is for the town, for your taste buds and for your wallets.

There must be a part of all of us, big or small, that has at some point been enchanted by the romantic notion of living in a small, coastal town. Local businesses are part of what keeps this small town feeling small and most importantly, unique. Faceless supermarket chains do not a bubble make. We often boast to friends at more metropolitan universities of being secluded in our own special town. This is in large part thanks to the centuries old, genuinely family run businesses like Jannettas and impossibly small yet incredibly well stocked cheese shops like The Guid Cheese Shop (an award winning counter) and I.J. Mellis that line our ancient streets.

Coming from central London I never really had the opportunity to shop locally at home apart from visits to local pound shops. This meant that actually having great quality small businesses on my doorstep was a breath of East Fife air. For example, in St Andrews Wine Company, a recent addition to Bell Street, Peter and his wonderful employees will help you find the perfect beverage for your needs and for your budget since they specialise in wines between £6 and £20.

Minnick’s, the butchers on South Street, sell delicious free-range eggs for half the price of the same amount in a supermarket as well as delicious, locally sourced meat. The members of staff are always happy to help you find the right cuts of meat for your budget or to give you cooking suggestions. These are just two examples of how smaller establishments enable you to understand what you’re buying and thus you can get more bang for your buck! John Birrell & Son greengrocers on South Street sells delicious, in season fruit and veg which trumps produce from the supermarket chains whether to eat them alone or to have accompany purchases from the butchers.

It’s not just good for local business to take your custom there; it is better for your bank balance. I am a sucker for supermarket promos as are most of us. This means I am incapable of seeing a BGOF offer or reduced tag without seeing it as a challenge to eat as many bagels as possible in a 24-hour period or whether it is actually possible to get through 200 teabags. In my mind reduced was synonymous to equal saving and the pound signs behind my eyes used to light up.  In reality it just means waste. I end up with packets of enormous quantities of things that I don’t really need and a recycling bin piled high with obscene amounts of plastic packaging. Cooking becomes a race against the “best-before” date.

There are some things that can only be found in larger shops but that is no reason to cut out local businesses all together. So next time you plan to go food shopping, why not see for yourself how much money you could save on South Street?