The first of occasional contributions from grumpytyke
Is Menston following the trend and seeing more and more people buying at local independent shops and buying less at the big supermarkets? I know of one or two Menston residents who are.
The Ilkley Business Forum is organising a ‘Buy Local’ event in November, recently inviting shops in Ilkley to back it by joining the forum. Chair of the forum, Vera Woodhead, says that the same initiative may be repeated in other areas within the LS29 postal area, including Menston.
However, good though this initiative is, going to shop in Ilkley – which has the benefit of a large number of ‘tourist’ visitors – isn’t going to keep the shops in Menston viable. Couldn’t the shops in our village get together and drum up a similar initiative? Maybe the ones which are part of large organisations – the Coop and Londis – could put some money into it.
As far as food is concerned, we have an independent bakery, greengrocer and delicatessen, but for how much longer if they are not sufficiently patronised?
Wouldn’t it be good to add a butcher? Only a couple of weeks ago I was suggesting to Binns in Bradford market, who have a shop in Saltaire which sells the same excellent quality meat at a much, much higher price, that they open a butcher shop in Menston. If they did it would have to be more expensive than in Bradford city, I was told.
Of course! To some extent pricing is a matter of turnover so local independent shops have to charge more. But if they are well patronised then the prices can be pitched a little lower. Having said that, avoiding the inconvenience of going into Bradford or Leeds (and the unpleasantness of the former), or even Guiseley, is worth a premium. And don’t forget the three excellent Menston free-range egg producers, whose prices compare very favourably with ‘similar’ (but nowhere near as tasty!) eggs from the supermarkets.
While on the subject of ‘shopping local’ I am wondering whether the long-promised new ‘official’ website for the village is being developed by a company in Exeter – just about as ‘unlocal’ as you could get. I could be wrong as the situation seems very confusing. Googling Menston brings up two sites – menston.org and menstonvillage.org. Is the menstonvillage, which looks very similar to the ‘old’ one, the new one? There’s no explanation on either site. However, if the new site is being developed way down south, much as I like Devon I’m not sure they can really cotton on to a Yorkshire culture.
I’m not suggesting that the authors of menstonvillagewharfedale.com should have done it – I know they wouldn’t have wanted to – but there are many excellent fairly local web development companies; I’m not aware of any in Menston (send info for this site’s business list if there are!) but there are certainly many within Yorkshire.
Although I’m concerned about the truly independent village shops, the Coop and Londis should be patronised too, of course, but it’s the independents who have to rely totally on their own efforts, do not benefit from any bulk buying and couldn’t invest the close on half a million the Coop spent on its recent refit which really need our support.