After hearing the local village was losing its only greengrocer, David Jamieson bought the business and opened Jamieson’s of Cullercoats in 2017.
The shop itself had been a grocery for more than 40 years, and David continues its legacy with a well-stocked shop that offers fresh market fruit and vegetables, artisan bread, jams, curds, relishes, cheese, milk, coffee, tea and everyday items.
As he puts it: “We offer unique products and no big brands. I want to make people enjoy shopping locally.”
David says: “Our shop is a hub for the community. I aim to stock products that people want. I support local producers and I also ask people if there’s anything that they want me to stock – I try my best to help them.”
Friendly customer service is fundamental to his business. “One thing that makes me smile is when a customer apologises for buying just one onion. My answer is, ‘That’s what I’m here for.’
“You can spend as little or as much as you want in my store. l treat everyone with the same respect and service level.
“I think that independent shops offer more in social terms because we are approachable and chat to everyone. For some customers, their local shop is their only trip out. We want them to enjoy it.”
His relationship with his customers shines through, and they can’t help but praise the shop. As one customer said: “What’s not to like about seeing someone getting excited about their venture and at the same time championing other independent businesses too? Everything is so big these days – local shops just make you feel better.”
GET IN A PICKLE
Andrew and Anne-Marie Calder own Calder’s Kitchen, which produces handmade, award-winning traditional piccalilli with a twist. The Piccalilli products range from mild to hot, hot, hot. Add a generous dollop on to your ploughman’s lunch, sandwich or cold meat platter.
Based in Cullercoats, Flavour Before Fire makes a range of chilli sauces, marinades and preserves that contain no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or thickeners. The pear chilli sauce is a revelation and is always popular at food markets.
Bridget Deane is founder of Fat Lass Preserves, which are made in the city centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. She uses the best seasonal produce and British vinegars to retain and enhance natural flavours. The products all have a modern twist, like the gin cocktail marmalade or pear and dark chocolate jam.