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Advice on starting up a fruit and veg shop


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Good quality, fairly priced, local produce is the thing that will set you apart from the supermarkets. Where are you thinking of having the shop and have you managed to source your produce?

 

I used to use a farm shop and pay a premium for fantastic produce. They started changing the quality so they tasted like mass produced stuff not 'home grown' so I stopped going there.

 

I presume you have already calculated margins and how much produce you will have to sell to cover your overheads and pay wages?

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Just go and ask people who run fruit and veg shops. So long as you're not intending to open up twenty yards down the street most people will be pleased to share their knowledge.

 

Re: "Fair pricing" as above, I suspect that you won't have that option if you include supermarkets. They can and do sell at prices that you might be buying for at wholesale.

 

You'll need an alternative strategy because just competing on price won't work. Localness, quality and convenience work for me.

 

Localness shouldn't be underestimated, people like to support local businesses and producers. You'll be the local fruit and veg man/woman and I'd get to know you as that and enjoy putting my pounds into your pocket. I'll also expect that you'll put your pounds into the pockets of other local businesses, so if you do - and you should - make sure that you tell me and the other customers.

 

Quality is a given. No excuses. That's not an excuse for the most expensive plums in Christendom though. Don't confuse quality with choice - be careful about stocking produce that you'll never sell, because if you have a dozen varieties of gorgeous tasty mushrooms but 90% of your customers only want those horrible tasteless button things, then horrible tasteless button things will be your quality produce.

 

Convenience means that I can pick up my produce at the same time as popping into the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. Footfall is seriously important to a new business and having lots of chimney pots around the shop isn't everything. There's a good reason why some locations have more expensive rents than others - they have customers! You might do well with a delivery service if there are lots of elderly people in the neighbourhood, but I'd probably combine that service with my journey home from work rather than letting it distract you and cost you more money than it makes.

 

 

Good luck, it should be a lot of fun putting it all together. :)

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Tony - you are confusing "fair pricing" with 'cheap price'. Supermarkets will not be selling very many local products. They sell the odd 'local' product but not many and they are often washed and packaged which for some items shortens their shelf life. Some veg keep better if unwashed with a little bit of soil still around it.

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We tried our local greengrocer but the quality wasn't up to much, and it's nothing worth making the separate shopping trip for

 

If we had somewhere selling local produce (and there's no reason why you can't do jams and pickles and other 'farmhouse' products too) then we'd make good use of it!

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I've got to agree with Chezz. Quality local produce is a must.

 

Our local goes to the market and brings back the most succulent fresh beetroot. It's absolutely amazing and as long as they're getting that (and products like it), I'll always favour them over the stuff in the supermarkets.

 

Local veg, local honey, local milk. All brilliant!

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Hi all. Thanks for the replies and ideas. I haven't actually made a business plan... not yet. This is only an idea but it is growing and growing, so I think I have to start making a plan but I don't know where to start.

 

LeMaguis, I don't know is Senta would be able to help me since the place intended for the shop is outside Sheffield.

 

And of course I want to support local produce but also products difficult to get at supermarkets. And something important too, minimise the use of plastic packaging... live to loose fruit and veg!

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And of course I want to support local produce but also products difficult to get at supermarkets. And something important too, minimise the use of plastic packaging... live to loose fruit and veg!

 

This means an awful lot to me and if it means a lot to me there are others who will be prepared to travel to get your products.

 

Good luck with this, really :)

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