THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Boutique retailers can make it work

I live in what would be called a student quarter. Falmouth is well known for it’s Art College and has a sizeable arty population of both students and oldies. The area of the town in which I live is predominantly Regency and Victorian – lots of old houses – and the shops and restuarants are down the hill in the town centre – about 10 minutes walk away. Up here on a narrow, busy street, a new deli has opened, called Provedore and owned by a giant Kiwi guy called Ian Tim who couldn’t be more pleasant and small crew of extremely pleasant, helpful and intelligent people. In a minute shop front created out of a lean-to shed, they have created a miniature Aladdins cave of delights from all over Europe – and in what used to be the paved back yard, a few tables and chairs to enjoy a pastry and a cappucino. It’s only been open a few weeks and I have already created a new habit of wandering over there for an early morning chocolate twist or a late morning coffee – as well as toasted paninis at lunchtime. The owner has created a village culture out of thin air. Yesterday the queue for sandwiches at lunchtime was out of the door – the students have figured out that its not as far to walk – and word of mouth marketing has happened. Down in the town – the new Tesco Express and Pizza Express in Event Square are getting emptier as the tourists drift away for the winter and the locals continue to virally inform each other that the service in both is lousy. Up here on the hill, Provedore is creating a new community. There is always room for boutique services, delivered with a smile, whatever your business.

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