The humble high street has seen a resurgence of support and activity of late, spearheaded by the likes of Mary Portas on television and now in the form of a new Twitter campaign by businesses here in Rickmansworth. Called #ShopLocal, it encourages people to support their high street by buying an extra item there instead of the supermarket.
Coincidentally, we’ve been doing precisely this for the past few months, buying a good number of items from local businesses on the high street that we’d previously got as part of our weekly supermarket shop. So far, it’s proven a very positive experience.
This move began through the arrival of a new fishmongers in Rickmansworth, whose stall offers a fantastic array of fish and seafood three days a week. The level of service – personalised, offering cooking recommendations and preparing the food – suddenly revolutionised our relationship with food retailers. No longer did we struggle over what fish we should buy without knowing much about what to do with it. Now we’re given inspiration each week based on the seasonal catch, and it’s enlivened our fish and seafood dishes immensely.
This represented something of a ‘eureka’ moment for us. Perhaps the supermarkets weren’t the convenient be all and end all of food shopping. Perhaps the high street can offer us something more and something better than the dominant supermarkets.
We decided to branch out and explore our high street more thoroughly. Our weekly fish shop remains very much as the heart of what we love about the high street, but we now regularly also bring home delicious bloomer bread, along with meat and veg. It’s all good quality produce and we feel all the better for supporting local businesses at the same time.
It’s true to say that we can’t buy everything we’d need for food on the high street, but it goes to show what a difference personal service – yes that old concept – can have in the 21st century. As far as we’re concerned it still very much has a place and we’d happily see a good deal more of it.
Rickmansworth High Street – some supermarket alternatives
Rock & Sole
The new fishmonger in town provides a bewildering array of fresh fish from the South West on its stall, Thursday – Saturday
Award-winning bread (for good reason) and a great café to boot
Popular high street butchers
Good selection of fruit and vegetables
North-West London bakery chain