Regular readers will know that I endeavor to shop locally whenever I can. I think it is important to buy local, to support local traders and to protect the environment by not using a car when I can walk.
However today I made a 6 mile round trip to buy a loaf of bread. My new Aussie friend and I went to Stirchley, a suburb of Birmingham.
I had visited the Stirchley Community Market earlier in the week with two of my foodie friends but had got there too late to get some bread from Loaf Online. To overcome our disappointment we indulged in delicious burgers from The Meat Shack and bought some interesting beers from Stirchely Wines. This has to be the best off license in Birmingham, run by a very customer focused man, who tweets when the bread is delivered.
Despite the cold torrential rain , yes this is summer in England, we practically had to beat a path to his door and form an orderly queue for the bread. One he has tweeted the customers come.
And this is what I bought.
While I admire Stirchley and its traders and community for fighting back against the big retailers and giving people the opportunity to buy local good on the high street, there’s a bit inside me that is sad. I am sad because I can’t buy bread like this on my high street. who tweets to tell his customers what special beers have just come in and that this week the bread will be olive and sun dried tomato.
Mary Portas wants to support local high streets to revitalise and a lucky 12 have just been announced as Portas Pilots. Stirchley Happenings knows what it is doing and is a blue print for other local communities. Bearwood can learn a lot from them.
So, I and many other Bearwood residents will beat a path to Stirchley Community Market once a month. We will plot how we can do something similar for our community, because Bearwood deserves a high street that reflect its community, one that provides social space for local artists and artisans to sell what they make.