From what was once a disused blacksmith's to a fledgling new business.
After months and months of planning, revising plans, discussions, choosing stock, recruiting and building we’re finally open! It got to the point where we thought that we had to pick a date and get going, even if we weren’t going to be quite ready. The 24th of October was picked because it was a Monday, not in school holidays and seemed like a realistic goal. After a lot of inevitable last minute things we opened our doors, feeling rather emotional and exhausted but excited and pleased to be getting going after a long build up.
The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur and the 24th of October already feels like an age ago, but we’re getting there – the shop is full and looking gorgeous, our team of staff have hit the ground running and have been fantastically hard working and enthusiastic, in spite of some very long hours and inevitable hiccups.
We wanted the Smiddy to have an honest, homely, feel, with lovely local produce and gifts and a selection of food which was excellent quality but wasn’t going to mean taking out a second mortgage. Of course we can’t compete with supermarkets on price, but we can assure customers that what they’re buying is fantastic quality and that the supplier that we’ve bought it from has been paid a fair price. The range of local products is slowing building up and we’ve had a great time doing samples and tastings to decide what to stock.
One of the most fun, and scary, departments to set up has been the butchery. We thought long and hard about whether it was a good idea; the risks associated with taking in whole carcasses and having to pay a butcher when we didn’t know whether we would be selling much meat were quite a worry. As it happens, we had lots of really useful help and advice along the way, including from a friendly young chap called Stewart, who ended up getting the job of head butcher! The Youngers at Old Leckie, the Duffs and Al Or, who supply our meat, couldn’t have been nicer and it’s been such a pleasure to see the butchery progress and develop.
The café is really taking off and after some initial menu reviews we’re settling into some good systems. The views are just stunning and it’s interesting to watch customers making a bee-line for the window seats so they can gaze at the frosty carse and the wisps of cloud over the Gargunnock Hills. Having so much daylight is a real bonus for customers and staff, and we’ve all been blown away by the spectacular sunsets. Our chef, Dave, and his team have been working so hard to create delicious dishes and daily specials and we’re now selling ready meals and desserts, made in the Smiddy kitchen, in the shop. The idea of having tasty food and not having to cook is certainly very appealing to me!
There is still so much to do, but we all feel immensely proud of what we’ve achieved in the last few weeks. It’s been a colossal effort but we’re getting there, taking on board the feedback from customers and are trying to improve and be the best we can. The hope is that the Smiddy will be hub for the community, champion local and seasonal produce and above all be a lovely, welcoming place to visit.
Could we be a Farm Shop and Deli Awards winner?WIN A HAMPER
Celebrating the Soil Association's organic food month.10% off Salad Dressings
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We picked up gold awards and made it into the final four.Read more
Pop along to the Smiddy and wave them on.Read more
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Could you be our new assistant manager?Read more
Join us for an evening celebration of fine local produce.Read more
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