Pop-up shops have been popping up all over the media. If not the saviour of the high street, they are at any rate the toast of many who hanker after new retail experiences.
But good retail innovation can flourish even within a more traditional and confining set-up. I was reminded of this recently when, cycling in Suffolk and in need of a mid-morning sugar fix, I pedalled into a village, looked in vain for a convenience store, and stuck my head into a butcher’s shop.
If you think a butcher’s is all about meat, and maybe a few eggs – basically, products for cooking and eating at home – then this shop would have given you a glimpse into a future in which adaptability revitalises village retailing.
Amidst a line-up of goodies that would not disgrace a specialist deli were fresh vegetables, English cheeses and Mediterranean things in jars. Most pertinent to my needs at that moment were the take-away coffee and packets of biscuits.
You can do without a Spar, Londis or bland, pint-sized Tesco when you have an enterprising butcher in your area. And his independence usually ensures an eye-pleasing shop front.