Summer Holiday Activities with a Family Business

Summer is here and school is out!  I have to admit to looking forward to having my “baby” back, and getting off the treadmill that is the school run.  God it just felt relentless towards the end of term.  Admittedly the first two days were testing as Leon adjusted and wound down, poor little man was sooooo tired and overwhelmed, so we just had a couple of days at home pottering and cycling round the village. (Plus ate some yummy comfort food)

Summer holiday activities with a family business

French Toast for breakfast

Delivery Time ending at the park

As usual, we have to juggle the needs of our business with the needs of our family and Friday was delivery day. Being summer holidays, Leon is with either his Dad or me.  We packed up the truck with essentials for the park and loaded the feed deliveries into the back.  A bit of planning resulted in our last delivery of the day happening right next to one of Leon’s favourite park – Rushcliffe Country Park.  We had some happy Leon & Mummy time until the rain came in.  Then it was home for a brew and treats.

Muddy night at Leicester Speedway

We have managed some family time with a great (and dramatic) evening out to Leicester Speedway.  I didn’t expect to enjoy the event as much as I did, but we all loved it.  Such a great family atmosphere, competitive riding, dramatic finish and friendly fans willing to explain and show you the ropes.  It was muddy though.  The husband said we may get “a little dirty”, not splattered from head to toe!  Leon and I laughed our socks off, and I was very impressed with my skilled reaction to keep the flying mud out of my beer, and no spillage!

Trraditional Skegness Pub Trip!

To finish our first week off together, (Daddy has now taken over), we had a little two night stay in Skegness.  This has become a bit of a tradition since we first joined the local pub day trip to the seaside 3 years ago.  Now Nanna has a caravan there we grab a couple nights away and spend the days on the beach – no matter what the weather.  This year we had two complete opposite days – one glorious sunshine and warm, the next grey, wet & cold.  It didn’t stop us, nor did my oddly patched sun burn.  Sometimes it can only happen to me.

Balancing Act

Leon is now having adventures with Daddy for a week, then it will be swapsies again.  This is how we manage our childcare and business throughout the holidays.  Maybe not ideal, and sometimes combining the business with family is very difficult, but this way Leon always has one of us around at least.  Plus we are getting better at eking out time for family adventures.  How do you balance family and work life when running your own business? Hope you all have a great summer.

 

Tiggi x

 

 

 

Rempstone Show 2017 Report

Well that’s Rempstone Steam and Country Show done for another year!

Much better weather than the torrential rain we had last year that left us with rivers running through the marquee and mud seeping from underneath the carpet. Although, the heat often meant you’d find us sitting on the floor right in front of the fan!

We had a brilliant year with a record number of visitors on the Saturday, especially with some beautiful canine visitors (and the odd parrot). The child dragged me over to watch the motorbike display and then Charlotte over to watch the Punjab Lancers. The child then dragged the (much appreciated, last-minute) baby-sitter, Jack, around the show, pulling his arm to go on the fairground rides and coming back with an arm-full of toys, clearly having had multiple attempts on the Hook-a-duck.

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Charlotte managed to excel in stupid comments and moments over the show, with my favourites being “de-warm” instead of ‘cool down’ and asking “will the sunglasses be okay in the sun?” and very VERY promptly realising what she’d just said. Despite this, she swears she’s actually intelligent and got AAAB at AS Levels! On the first day of the show, I thought I was going to die in a portaloo as the rumbles of a bloody big Arctic lorry got closer and closer, but that’s another story.

Punjab Lancers 3

Stupid moments aside, we had a very successful Rempstone Show this year, and thank you to all of you who visited us there. Roll on Long Lane Equestrian Show and Sutton Bonington Show!

Punjab Lancers 2

 

Is your hat up to scratch?

Recently, we’ve had a scary amount of people come into the shop that have been sold a riding hat or body protector elsewhere, to be told by their riding instructor that is has failed the safety test, either due to ill-fitting or the hat/body protector isn’t up to current standards.

Whether you’re a member of a local Pony Club or eventing at Burghley, your hat must meet the new standard.  This means that (BS)EN1384 alone is not permitted by the The Pony Club, Riding Clubs,  British Horse Society (BHS), British Eventing, British Show Jumping or British Dressage in 2017.  However, hats would be acceptable if they carry EN1384 or BSEN1384 and another standard such as those listed:

  • PAS 015 (1998 or 2011)
  • VG1 01.040 (2014-12)
  • ASTM F1163 (2004a or 04a onwards)
  • SNELL E2001
  • AS/NZS 3838 (2006 onwards)

So if your hat is still meeting current safety standards, fab.  But does it fit correctly? Scott and I are both trained to fit safety equipment correctly, so please call us on 01509 670436 to book an appointment as the shop gets busy.  Even if your hat was fitted when you first bought it, it is a good idea to have it regularly checked in case any straps need adjusting or in the case of young riders a reminder of how to correctly wear their hat! A fitting or check is free here, so it’s definitely worth the peace of mind.

For 2017, the Pony Club requires that body protectors must meet the Beta Level 3 2009 standard for cross country and pony racing, but they are not compulsory for other activities. In 2018, British Eventing will only allow body protectors with the Beta Level 3 2009 (purple) label to be worn, as the 2000 version will no longer be permitted.  We can also check that your body protector fits correctly.

If you bring your hat and body protector along to your appointment we will check them.  That way you know they will do their job properly in the event of a fall (it happens to the best of us, just seems to be me hitting the deck every other week at the moment!)

*Always check with your riding organisation for current rules.

Riding hat blog

A variety of hats at our stables for interest only

Happy Father’s Day Stick Float

Yesterday saw the Husband (aka Stick Float) very busy in the shop as the river season had started.  Meanwhile, I took Leon to a lovely birthday party and did the usual Saturday jobs.  The result of which meant that we hadn’t seen each other all day, on top of what had already been a busy week.  As Stick Float was going off to finish marking the pegs for today’s match on the River Soar, Little Man and I decided to join him for the evening along the bank.

It soon turned out that I had made a rookies error in wearing inappropriate footwear.

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Oops not great for rambling along the river bank in

However, lagging behind father & son allowed me to watch and capture them together.

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Like Father, like son spotting the fish jumping

It was worth the scrambling, slipping and grass stuck in feet as the River Soar was beautiful last night.

 

Stick Float and Little man are fishing today in a competition, a bit of Daddy & son time. I made the mistake again of wrong footwear to drop off Little Man’s forgotten boots.

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Will I never learn?!

 

I hope they have a great day together, love this pair so much.  Grabbing moments like this are what it is all about.

Tiggi x

What Mary Portas said

So the question is – What did Mary Portas advise small retail owners at The Spring Fair?

I am going to try and relate to you the core of what Mary said, and some examples of how we have tried to implement ideas into our own shop since then.  Please don’t take this as a “how to”, or that we are preaching “follow this and your business will be a success” – I mean how many times a day do you get spammed on twitter, email or fb with people claiming to have the answers? – you don’t need another.  This is just the notes I took whilst listening to an influential and respected champion of the small retailer,  and our take on things.  We are not perfect, but we are willing to learn and to change, just like you.  We have to do, to survive in this current retail atmosphere.

The first thing spoken about was how much retail has changed ( no s**t Sherlock), that the reasons our customers seek out the small retailer are because they expect us to be knowledgeable in our field, unique, offer a full experience and be judicious.  I think most of us begin this way, otherwise we would not have started our own shops.  However, when times are tough, maybe it gets a little lost, it doesn’t hurt to be reminded.

Going forward, Mary was predicting that people would be looking to spend their hard earned cash on their homes, well being and connectivity – it’s that Hygge thing again, but it appears to be around for the long haul this one.  So we need to apply this to our shops, but what does this mean?

Engage the senses of your customer as they walk by/into your shop.

  1. Vision –  great window displays, make regular small changes to catch the eye to internal displays.
  2. Hearing – we now play music that relates to us not just a generic radio station in the background (yes we have our PRS licence).
  3. Smell – maggots are not a great smell, but we need them for the fishing side of shop. To counteract it I burn a small scented candle and let the lovely scents waft out the front door. Cleanliness of the shop is important too. (PS these are candles we sell in the shop and have noticed a real increase in sales since doing this.)
  4. Taste – free chocolate anyone?  Yes we now have samples of the local made chocolate to share with our customers. On the pet side we have samples of dog treats too for our four legged friends.
  5. Touch – encouraging this customer to feel the products, hold the fishing pole, squidge the cushions, try the boots on. Plus we now have lots of wood shelving which is very tactile.
  6. Connect – just a simply hello will do. Don’t ask closed questions!! As soon as you ask “Do you need any help?” – the automatic reply is “No” – end of conversation.  Introduce yourself, explain a little (key word) about your empire, then ask questions about them, get the conversation flowing, make them welcome and feel important.

Mary was also asked to predict trends for 2017, here are her top 5:

  1. Vintage – replica or genuine.
  2. Mid Century design.
  3. Succulent plants.
  4. Status Stories (goodbye status symbols).
  5. Cultural trend awareness.

Thankfully no Flamingos this year!

Finally, key words to remember you are small, local, niche and get your story out there!

 

 

 

 

Roadshow 2016

This times last year we were out and about with Spillers Weigh clinics, helping people get ready for Spring feeding.  What a great two days we had learning how to body condition score, taking the fear out of sugar in feed and lots of cuddles (and treats!)

Then there was our Meet ‘n’ Greet evening with Spillers and Verm-X.  There was lots of myth busting done that evening.

If you would like Spillers to visit your yard and give good impartial advice contact them here.

Tiggi x

Days off

What they don’t tell you when you start planning your own small business, is that days off become a rarity.  At certain times of the year they are even like rocking horse poo!  You will plan your business hours, and create an ideal schedule of when you will get all the jobs done that are required to create a successful business, and then reality hits.  Some days you will be so busy, but you will feel like you have achieved the square root of f**k all.  Which leaves your “spare” time dealing with all the jobs you couldn’t get done during business hours.

Mondays (our day off), are frequently spent visiting suppliers, business meetings, seeing the accountant, doing the books, working on the website and social media or at trade shows, fully utilizing the hours our son is at school.   All the while we try to eek out some time as a couple, even if it is just a brew together somewhere, if we are lucky we might even find time for lunch out.  Rushing back in time for end of school from whatever errand we have been on, to grab some family time.  Then the following morning the merry go round starts all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, we love our shop, but we are dictated to by the ebb and flow of retail life. Which means time off and holidays are a rarity rather than the norm, and everything has to be planned around your busy times of the year.   There is always that worry that you are just one bad day/month away from losing it all, and that the one time you do shut will be the time that your customer wants you to be open.  As we all know, you rarely get a second bite of the apple, if you aren’t there when the customer expects you to be they don’t come back again.  Be warned though, as logical as this is to other business owners, there will be friends and family who just don’t “get it”.

Anyway, my body decided that this Monday was going to be a true day off as I was poorly.  The last time we relaxed on a Monday was during half time when we had a “ahhh eff it” moment and decided to go visit some friends after the shop shut on Sunday.  As it was half term, there was no rush to get back for school, so we packed our overnight bags and headed off to sunny Hertfordshire.  After a warm welcome from the two horses, a rather large dog wearing a door (he still thinks that he is a puppy and can fit through a cat flap!), a beautiful timid greyhound, two free ranging hens that are afraid of the dark, numerous cats and of course Andy & Trish, we settled in to the old farmhouse.

Andy had recorded the Six Nations Rugby that day for catch up after dinner, so we were free to explore.  I naturally headed to the stables to have cuddles with J-Lo and Colonel, followed by a nosy round Trish’s craft shop.  The boys disappeared into the numerous garages – surprise.  Before we knew it the light was fading and it was time to retire to an evening of hearty home cooked food, good real ale, a roaring log stove, rugby and easy conversation.

The following morning was a slower start to the day than we are used to.  A lazy morning which included a late cooked brunch, with our son performing the role of commis chef, numerous brews and a break down of the match from the night before. With full belly’s it was time to head out and play football in the horse’s field, with two dogs in tow.  Don’t worry, we utilized Andy & Trish’s pasture management tactics of fencing off large areas and played inside them. While two dogs ran around, and around, and around! Colonel and J Lo happily grazed near by wondering what we were doing with their football.  The view across the valley was stunning.

Spring fever started to show in the horses, Colonel most definitely had the wind up his tail.  We decided to leave them to the football and go for a walk around the local lanes.

As we turned off the main track, a field was being ploughed and we counted 16 Red Kites ! All flying above making the most of the turned earth giving up it’s worms, and completely ignoring us.  It was an amazing sight watching their airborne ballet as they swooped and dived.

We found lots of signs of Spring around us, places to explore and mud!

Before long it was time to head back to the farmhouse for a final brew and a slice of Parsnip and Pecan cake (made by me as a thank you).SAMSUNG

Then it was time to trundle back up the motorway, with a sleepy but happy Leon and both of us feeling a lot more relaxed and centered.  The power of a short break with good friends to revive and refresh never ceases to amaze.  Thank you again to Andy & Trish for understanding and generosity of time.

Tiggi x

P.S. Sorry Trish we got your dogs so very muddy – lol

 

(P>S Trish –

 

 

Mary Portas & The Spring Fair

We may be a small family shop, but we have a big heart and ideas.

Part of our mission is continuously working to find products we believe in and know you will love too.  Whether it is LetterJoy, Black Acres Soap Pantry and Deckled Edge (local and British made gifts and cards), or inspiring young British Entrepreneurs such as Marc from Sporting Hares.

Therefore, we find ourselves at numerous times of the year traipsing off to trade shows with the aim of tracking down the next new thing, and understanding what will be trending this coming year.

spring-fair-tickets

Don’t tell the husband but I made him “n/a” on the tickets – oops

Monday 6 February saw the hubby and I spending our day off at the Birmingham NEC attending the annual Spring Fair.  This is no jolly day out, this is serious hard work.

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20! 20 Halls to get round!

We have one day to go round all 20 halls of the NEC, which are jam packed with products and trends for us to wade through – in ONE day!!! We have friends who spend 3 days there, but we don’t have that luxury (not entirely sure I want it either).

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Our master plan

Homework done, we had a vague plan of what we wanted to achieve and set off to Birmingham after dropping little man at school.  This would be our first time without him (& I noticed we got far fewer freebies – dam it).  First port of call was to drop the coats and grab a coffee.

 

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Ooh can’t wait

We checked our watches, and as we wanted to be there for Mary Portas giving a guest talk, began the countdown of two hours trekking to find our targets.  This is no gentle meander, more like an army yomp.  As you make your way through the aisles, you cannot afford to be blind, but have to take in all the details as you speed walk past, looking for what is everywhere (last year it was Flamingos!), plus those little things that make you stop and take notice.  If you stop and look, there’s a good chance your customers will too.  Anyway, before long you start to feel like something out of The Exorcist with your head constantly spinning (or at the very least a deranged owl).  Your head begins to feel mashed.

The very first time we went we had no idea, no plan and no way of filtering through everything and everyone.  I can clearly remember the piles of catalogs and literature we brought back from so, so many stalls, unable to say no for fear of missing something. Gosh the weight of those things, (and the first year we didn’t take a rucksack – the pain!). Now we have a clear understanding of what works for our shop and what products we want to introduce. Admittedly, I have to be strict with myself as sometimes I can get a little over excited, bit like a big Labrador puppy (what you? never I hear you say!!???).  The rules are simple, 1) No buying on the day (no matter how good a deal they offer), and 2) Does it fit the criteria we came with?  These rules we have developed after previous visits.

We headed to Hall 6 – Retail Solutions.  This was purely a recce visit, we wanted to see what was out there, talk to lots of people and get a feel for some of the changes we are debating making. Plus, it wasn’t too far from where we wanted to be for when Mary Portas took to the stage.  In all fairness I’m not sure how tuned in I was to the information being pushed at us, my mind was already on Mary Portas.

In no time at all the hubby and I were making our way to the stage area, we were half an hour early and managed to grab a spot.  Within ten minutes, all seats were taken, people were finding spaces to stand or sit on the floor at the front.  It was all rather British, I observed, us Brits are great a queuing.  I was getting excited at seeing my icon in the flesh, I was starting to get a little giddy and had my notebook and pencil at the ready.  Judging by the wry smile on hubby’s face he was amused by my excitement and kindly held me down when I started to bounce (it’s that Labrador puppy thing again!). However, you could feel the excitement of the audience building.

An introduction was made as to who Mary Portas is (really didn’t think she needed introducing) and a round of applause went up with the expectation to see the lady herself that second.  However, there was a slight delay until Mary Portas appeared on stage. It was a moment that for me at least made us hold our breath slightly, would she be the person we thought she was? Our fears were quelled as Mary appeared on stage and her first step was to apologise for the tiny delay as they were too busy “gassing back stage”.  The lady was up front, honest and engaging from the on set.  I wish I had half her energy, Mary Portas quite simply does not know how to sit still, or talk without her hands. By heck tho she engaged with the audience, making sure even those sat slightly behind the stage were not left out.

I could wax lyrical about Mary Portas and report every word she said. Here are what for me were the highlights:

A lady wearing the best hat ever was there with her baby, who with impeccable timing started to do what babies do, make noise.  Mary turned to look at the cutie and the mum apologised, Mary’s response “no need, it’s not a bother”.  During a discussion about online presence, a gentleman with a decorating shop said he didn’t need one, Mary’s response “You’re wrong” said without malice and clearly demonstrated to him why he/we/all independents need it. Lesson learnt.  During a discussion about community, a young lady expressed her frustration at other businesses in her town not getting involved in projects.  Mary was honest about this, that there are always people who do and others who prefer to sit back and watch.  However, not to be defeated Mary offered to have a pic taken with the lady saying “come on ***** get your act together” .  As much as the interviewer tried to guide the conversation, there was little he could do in the presence of such energy and candor, stories were told, advice was given and questions answered. We hung on every word.

The interviewer then for want of a better word announced there was only a few minutes of the session left.  To which Mary exclaimed “But I haven’t said everything I need to yet – right you be quiet” (pointing to the interviewer and smiling mischievously) and to the audience “now listen up this is what you need to know” and all pens & pencils scribbled fiercely.  Inevitably the  session ran slightly over, but Mary kept her word and had her pic taken with the young lady and met with people from the audience.

Thank you Mary Portas for being our champion, inspiration and for making us not feel alone as independent retailers.

mary-portas

 

 

 

 

Valentines window display

I have had two conversations this week with other Mums, about how we got into our business, and each time it was assumed we came from a retail background – er no!!  We have had to learn double quick on the job, nearly five years later we are still here so we must have learnt something, somewhere (hopefully).

There are still times when I lack inspiration for our window displays, or even lack confidence in my own ability.  This time I was stumped with a Valentines display.  Shoppers expect you to do something, but nothing was feeling right – all just a bit too much.

Thankfully, Peter from Black Acres Soap Pantry popped in with new stock (lovely new candles by the way), the kettle was boiled, the stock was sorted. Then while we hugged our mugs we brain stormed about the window display, and discussed the nuances of running a small business.  By the time he left I was wired on coffee and armed with a plan.

A quick meander round the shop and I had selected some lovely products to display using shades of red through to pink.  A little bit of grouping, matching Chocolate Thingy Me Jigs flavors to scented candles and remembering the height and odd number rules of display, resulted in the window display organically growing.

I know when it is right as passers by will stop to look at the display, gaining their interest in our products and increases our footfall.  Thanks again Pete for the inspiration.  I believe we have done our suppliers products justice and are so pleased to display our wares from local and British businesses.

A bonus is when people come in and say, “We love your window displays.  They always look so nice!” – bingo.

 

 

Christmas shopping

Well here I go my first blog.  To be honest it has taken me a long time to figure out how I wanted to start this, but after our expedition into the city on Monday inspiration has hit (or the desire to soap box – you decide!).  After nibbling on a few mince pies, which then extended to a delicious Turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce on a cob (insert your bread preference here depending on where you live ha ha – no arguments please). I am now feeling brave enough to dip my toe into the water.

Just to give you a little background before I plough on.  I am an accidental small business partner of Soar Equestrian & Country in Kegworth, which is a shop run with my husband Scott of Soar Tackle.  Accidental?  You see I didn’t dream of being in retail, it wasn’t a goal of mine.  I fell into it by supporting my husband’s dream of working, somehow, with his passion for Angling.

Now, we didn’t just crash on regardless.  We did our research, built our business plan etc, – but maybe that is another post. However, circumstances contrived to force our hand, and in the middle of the financial crisis, with a newborn baby in tow, we opened Soar Tackle and Soar Equestrian followed shortly after (riding being my hobby – my other passion rugby didn’t quite compliment the fishing side).  The shop has most definitely developed into a bit “His ‘n’ Hers”, much to the amusement of our customers.

Why am I telling you this?  I want you to understand where we are coming from.  The hard work we put in to not only survive, but thrive in a retail market that was faltering and struggling.  We saw some big names fail during this period, with experienced staff and managers at the helm, and here we were ‘minnows’ trying to chisel out our little niche of the market.  What were we thinking?!!  That was over five years ago.

During that time sacrifices were made, it’s part of the life you choose when you become self employed.  One of those things was a big day out Christmas shopping, we had to budget fiercely and spread the costs throughout the year.  Gone were the days of going to Manchester or Chester, and shopping all day, eating out, coffees, cakes the full rigmarole.

So this year we were so excited that after being prudent all year, we were going to go to Nottingham, Christmas shopping for the day.  We had hard earned money to spend, and wanted to see the delights of the big stores.  Okay so we didn’t choose the best day weather wise, it was the wettest day of the year and was torrential rain.  We are country folk tho (never thought I’d say that lol) and bad weather can’t stop us!

All wrapped up in my new Kanyon coat I was ready to take on the world.  Okay, so more like walk around Nottingham buying Christmas presents, and to be honest  we were also looking for inspiration for our own shop.  What ideas and practices could we pinch to help our little country store?  Remember neither of us are from a retail background, so we are always looking for ideas.  The big boys do this all the time, surely we had something to learn from them.

Background info for you – we work hard to keep our shop clean.  I have recently worn out yet another feather duster, and can be found every morning sweeping the pavement by the front of our shop.  We very carefully consider our window displays and how the shop should feel when you walk in, and the products we choose to sell, such as local handmade chocolates and hand crafted natural candles & soap.

Off we traipsed in all that rain.  Our hopes were high and we were in a good mood despite the weather’s best attempts to dampen it.  The little Christmas village/fair looked lovely all lit up, the city was relatively clean in the centre, plenty of shops, plenty of people.

We soon came to realise that there was something missing from the bigger stores tho.  The first thing was that everywhere is very, very generic.  Each store is a different “brand”, but what they are offering the customer is all just a slight variation of what was in the store before them.  Yes we know there are trends, we watch them too, follow them, use them for ideas, but we will find you something a little different, work hard to source products we hope you love as much as we do.  So why aren’t the big boys doing it?  Why do they think they can stick anything in front of you, say it’s ‘on trend’ and expect you to part with your hard earned cash?  Now I’m not talking about the likes of Liberty in London when I say ‘Big Boys’. I’m talking about the top high street names that are the general choice of the population, to be honest they aren’t offering much choice.

The other bug bear was the cleanliness of the stores.  The stores obviously employ cleaners, the floors were clean, windows clean and the till areas clean.  The displays were a whole different class of –  dust collections! The shelves were dirty, the products you were expected to buy were dusty, the display labels were dusty it was unbelievable.  We even saw a shelf being restocked with products that were already dusty from storage and not being cleaned as put on shelf.  Hello?! Okay, so there is a higher volume of traffic through their stores than ours, (understatement of the year), but there is no excuse for disrespecting your customers so much that you expect them to buy dusty, dirty, over priced products.  I would like to say we only saw this in one store, or one particular area of the store, but no it was an epidemic of dust throughout each retail brand.  There was a solution to this – the staff that were stood around doing not a lot could have been set to use.  Encouraged to take pride in their place of work, to enjoy making a customer happy with their purchase and to create a nicer place to work. Hmmmm it would appear that I’m on cloud cuckoo land.  We were lucky to be acknowledged, never mind actually spoken to or greeted.

To be fair it isn’t the staff’s fault, if they are not trained or looked after, how can they be motivated to look after the store and it’s customers?  Come on guys – you keep moaning that the High Street is failing, up your game, respect your customers and step up to the mark.  It is failing because you think you have a right to peoples hard earned money without working for it like they have.

Just a little foot note on this.  I mentioned our experience to some friends and one of the reactions I got was maybe we are spoiled by some of the little shops we like to shop at (and will be spending our money with).  So here’s to being ‘spoiled’ by some of our favourite shops and a quick shout out to fellow small business owners.  Keep it going!!

The Gallery in Sutton Bonington  – great coffee, tea, cakes and now lunches among a wonderful selection of gifts from artisans. Got my gorgeous glass robin from here.

Flowers by Frederika – Frederika can do amazing things with flowers, so far she has done my dad’s funeral and my wedding flowers, plus numerous other gifts and occasions.

Charnwood Brewery – These guys know their beers! Wonderful selection of different ales brewed by themselves, plus local cider and wines and more.

A Stone’s Throw Nottingham – Can’t find a gift in town?  Take a visit to Pete in his shop on Sherwood Rise.  He has great taste and will help you search out the perfect item & wrap it.

George Hill of Loughborough – These guys have a selection for all budgets, obviously know their stuff and are helpful and welcoming.  Not just for wines & spirits, check out their edible gift range too.

The Cheese Shop Nottingham – These brothers are great fun and will expertly guide you through their vast array of cheeses and other delights.  Stop for a bite and a brew you won’t be disappointed.

Oaklands Butchers & Bakers – Family business right across from us which is a little fateful sometimes.  Quality is guaranteed, the food is yummy & good value.  Be warned the gingerbread latte is a little addictive 😉