Lovely grocer, J. D. Adam, Brechin

On the way to Aberdeen we went to Brechin, a fairly non-descript wee town now by-passed by the A90. It's got some interesting old shops and great signs. I'd been there 4 years ago and hoped that The Savoy Cafe with its superb frontage and J. D. Adam, an old-fashioned grocers were still there. They were.

The man who runs the grocers is as nice as he looks in this photo. He had a wee chat with us when we went in, in a friendly, not nosey way. When he heard we were from Glasgow he said he should have been in Gourock this weekend showing off his prize vegetables. Prize vegetables we asked. Yes, and he got a photo out of these really beautiful leeks and parsnips. I mean, really beautiful. We asked how he got on in the competitions and he said he'd been World Potato Champion two years running. The world's best potatoes - that's pretty special.

So if you're down Brechin way stop into this lovely shop in the high street and have a chat. They sell great biscuits by Fisher & Donaldson, which are always a treat. The whole experience is like a cross between Open All Hours and Wallace and Gromit. I took some more pictures inside just in case it doesn't last forever. It's been going since 1895 though, so here's hoping. More of this sort of thing in Shutting Up Shop: The Decline of the Traditional Small Shop which I mentioned last month.

That book looks lovely.

I think it's so so sad we're seeing the decline of shops such as these.

Independent shops in London are falling away one a week. Soon it will be time to leave. The charm is going. Commercialisation destroys most everything.

What a shop! It's such a perfect timewarp.

I agree with Charlie that its sad to witness the disappearance of small independent shops, but I'm also sure that most of us are partly responsible for their decline.

If you do most of your grocery shopping at big supermarkets or if you buy a book from Amazon instead of ordering it from a local bookshop (two examples where I have to hold my hands up and say guilty as charged!) then its hardly surprising that so many small shops are giving up the struggle.

I agree with Trevira, I buy some stuff on Amazon, it's hard not to when some things are a third cheaper. I do own a Wedge card though and use it most weeks.

It really annoys me though that so many modern corner shops stock really sub-standard produce almost forcing me to shop at supermarkets to buy something half descent.

You're right, it's easier said than done. I'm certainly guilty too!

Ooh, we just posted that at the same time I think. I agree with you too Charlie. If you're presented with a lot of withered apples and bendy carrots the first instinct is to go straight to Tesco's. What was nice about this place was he had some good local produce on the counter, so you could actually buy quality things you can't get in supermarkets.

Absolutely! Bendy carrots, ha ha!

I think clued up proprietors are aware that they have to build on their unique qualities - personal service, genuine local produce/goods, knowledge about their stock and the locality, character and atmosphere - the qualities that we love about them.

Even then, that's not always enough if there's not enough people devoting a portion of their weekly spend to small shops.

I feel a campaign coming on! Spend a fiver (minimum) a week in a small independent shop!

If I can come up with a snappier slogan I might be on to something here . . .

That sounds like a good idea. Go for it!

Bendy carrots: the small shopkeeper's defence would probably be that their carrots wouldn't be so bendy if we shopped there more regularly! Their stock doesn't turn over as fast as the supermarkets.

But I'm as guilty as everyone else of doing the weekly shop at the supermarket.

Amazon is a poor second best to the book or record shop experience. Why would you pass up the fun of rummaging and discovering the things that you weren't actually looking for? Because you're flat-out busy and you've got two lovely but demanding kids, you say? Oh. Fair enough.

And I do pass over CDs at Ray's Jazz Shop because I know that I can find them cheaper at HMV. That's probably not a good idea if I want Ray's to stay open.

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