strawberries and serendipity

In October last year, Nicola Wilson and her husband, Ben, took over the popular Giddens
& Thompson Greengrocers in Earsham Street, Bungay. Nicola has joined the nourish
family as one of our regular columnists, and here she shares her pleasure at her new role. 

Owning a greengrocers was not in my plan! I live locally and had shopped at Giddens & Thompson, or ‘G&T’ as I refer to it, many times when it was still owned by Simon. When I saw it was for sale, I went home and told my husband, saying wouldn’t it be beautiful to own such a shop. Then I promptly forgot all about it! 

One month later, I was overwhelmed when Ben told me he had looked at the numbers, had spoken to the estate agent, and thought that we could buy it. Neither of us has a retail background, but we decided to go for it; and eight months later, here we are!  

I have a background in nutrition, working in that for 17 years, as well as being mum to Ella, 15, and Miles, 12, while Ben works in IT. However, we have always been big foodies, and nutrition and vegetables go hand in hand. Strangely, I had visited Earsham Street years ago when it was snowing. I had the strangest feeling then that I would be here in some way. Little did I know it would be through a baptism of fire, straight in with Christmas orders and settling into a new role. 

However, I love it! I am in my element, and I have found something I love to do. It has taken me until being in my 50s to do so, but I have, and I love this more than nutrition. 

The best thing about owning the shop is the community. The people of Bungay, and further afield, have been so welcoming, and I love the banter I have with different customers. It makes the day go by so quickly. I remember around Christmas time, and a female customer was asking about a cake; another lady in the shop joined in the conversation, and then another – and another! It was a special moment for sure. 

This sense of community has really struck me; since owning G&T, I am very aware that some people only talk to those they see in the shops and if chatting to someone for five minutes about fruit can make them feel less lonely, then that is a wonderful thing. 

We are now in such a wonderful time of year, with Sharrington strawberries – the very best in the UK – in abundance. We loved the asparagus, but now is the time for local potatoes, peas, broad beans, gooseberries, in their fleetingly short season, and so much more. I have as much local produce in the shop as I can, from Sharringtons, High House Fruit, Clinks Care Farm, the Tacons, and many others, and it is wonderful to see. Add in watching people shop at Palfrey
& Hall, Earsham Street Fish Company, The Little Green Wholefood Shop, Earsham Street Deli, and other local stores before coming to G&T to complete their food shop for that evening, and it keeps it all very local indeed, which can only be a good thing.

I have many exciting plans for G&T in the future, and I have enjoyed developing the range already. We are looking to up our local deliveries, so keep an eye on the website, and do pop in next time you are passing!  

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